When the Taliban took control of Kabul in August 2021, the quick collapse of the former government caught many by surprise — although the insurgent group had made significant gains across the country once it was clear that all U.S. troops would leave.

Afghanistan is now facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The Afghan economy has no cash to pay salaries or buy food. Western aid has been suspended because the Taliban government includes designated terrorists. And millions of Afghans face acute malnutrition and starvation in the coming months. The Taliban lack capacity to manage these monumental challenges, but there is no clear alternative to their rule.

Featured   Publications

As Taliban Poppy Ban Continues, Afghan Poverty Deepens

As Taliban Poppy Ban Continues, Afghan Poverty Deepens

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Afghanistan, historically the leading source of the world’s illegal opium, is on-track for an unprecedented second year of dramatically reduced poppy cultivation, reflecting the Taliban regime’s continuing prohibition against growing the raw material for opiates. The crackdown has won plaudits in international circles, but its full implications call for clear-eyed analysis and well considered responses by the U.S. and others. The ban has deepened the poverty of millions of rural Afghans who depended on the crop for their livelihoods, yet done nothing to diminish opiate exports, as wealthier landowners sell off inventories. The unfortunate reality is that any aid mobilized to offset harm from the ban will be grossly insufficient and ultimately wasted unless it fosters broad-based rural and agricultural development that benefits the most affected poorer households. 

Type: Analysis

Economics

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Current   Projects

Senior Study Group on Counterterrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Senior Study Group on Counterterrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan

In 2022, the U.S. Institute of Peace convened a senior study group to examine the evolving threat landscape and counterterrorism challenges in South Asia. The bipartisan study group brought together experts of counterterrorism strategy, diplomacy, intelligence and South Asia to assess terrorism risks from Afghanistan and Pakistan and put forth policy options for future counterterrorism efforts in the region.

Fragility & ResilienceViolent Extremism

Religious Women Negotiating on the Frontlines

Religious Women Negotiating on the Frontlines

In recent years, peace processes — such as the track 2 intra-Afghan negotiations — have shown that on both a moral and practical level, women’s inclusion is essential. Women’s involvement in peace processes increases their likelihood of success and longevity and can increase legitimacy. While more literature on women contributing to mediation and negotiation efforts is slowly being produced, little attention is currently being paid to the already existing work of women who employ their faith and mobilize religious resources for peacebuilding.

GenderReligion

Youth Advisory Council

Youth Advisory Council

Built upon the belief that youth bring significant and unique insight to peacebuilding, the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) provides a mechanism through which USIP experts can benefit from youth perspectives and expertise. The YAC enables USIP staff to engage youth as partners, experts, and practioners while elevating youth voices and experience to the international level. The YAC contributes to USIP’s vision for an inclusive approach to peacebuilding. The Youth Advisory Council meets regularly to bring together youth thought leaders and peacebuilding experts committed to the Institute’s mission and activities.

Conflict Analysis & PreventionPeace ProcessesYouth

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