In February 2020, the United States and Taliban signed an agreement that paved the way for direct talks between the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan republic. A successful peace process would not only allow Afghanistan to begin addressing its deep-rooted problems but would also allow the United States to finally end its military presence. A core priority of the U.S. Institute of Peace is to support an inclusive and sustainable peace process. USIP identifies key issues to be resolved and provides options to address them. In Washington, USIP supports the U.S. government through policy analysis that draws from our work on the ground in Afghanistan.
Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in Afghanistan.
U.S. and NATO troops are rapidly executing President Biden’s policy of a complete withdrawal of American troops and contactors supporting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) by a deadline of September 11. Based on the rate of progress, the last American soldier could depart before the end of July. The decision to withdraw without a cease-fire or a framework for a political agreement between the Taliban and the government caught Afghans and regional countries by surprise. The Taliban have capitalized on the moment to seize dozens of districts and project an air of confidence and victory.
Troop withdrawal is ahead of schedule, but that’s “proving to be bad news for the overall political situation … and a setback for peace talks,” says USIP’s Scott Worden. While it seems likely that fighting will ramp up, if another military stalemate occurs there could be “a ripe opportunity for talks.”
For the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of Kabul, home to the Hazara minority group, the devastating May 8 bombing outside a school is part of a disturbing trend of attacks in the area. The bombing killed at least 85 and injured around 150 — mostly young girls — and coincided with concerns of escalating violence as the United States withdraws combat troops from Afghanistan. Although no group has claimed responsibility, the Islamic State group (ISIS) has perpetrated similar attacks in the past and many suspect it was again responsible.
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has been working since 2002 to strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan by identifying peaceful means of dispute resolution, developing partnerships between state and community actors, and improving access to justice. USIP’s work has included learning through research and pilot projects, grant-making, and technical support to the Afghan government, Afghan communities, and international partners. With a Kabul-based field office, USIP has conducted r...
The congressionally mandated Afghanistan Study Group (ASG) was charged with identifying policy recommendations that “consider the implications of a peace settlement, or the failure to reach a settlement, on U.S. policy, resources, and commitments in Afghanistan.” After ten months of extensive deliberations and consultations, the ASG submitted its report containing forward-looking recommendations to Congress, the Biden administration, and the public.
Almost 20 years after the United States ousted the Taliban regime, the first direct peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government began in Doha, Qatar in September 2020. The Taliban, Afghan government, and international forces have fought to a deadly stalemate, with both battle deaths and civilian casualties near record highs in recent years.