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The War in Afghanistan: Time to Negotiate?

On September 26, Partnership for a Secure America and the United States Institute of Peace hosted an off-the-record dinner on the war in Afghanistan.  Scott Worden, Director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs at the United States Institute of Peace and former U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Amb. Marc Grossman provided a situation report and reflections on current negotiations with the Taliban to pursue peace in Afghanistan.

In 2011, the United States – led by Ambassador Grossman – and the Taliban held preliminary peace talks aimed at drawing the war to a close. Despite a series of global summits and significant diplomatic engagement these negotiations fell apart in early 2012. The U.S. is again exploring diplomatic engagement with the Taliban. Ceasefires between Afghan security forces and the Taliban and a battlefield stalemate created conditions where successful negotiations may be possible. In July, representatives from the State Department and the Taliban met for preliminary talks for the first time in 7 years. With another meeting slated to take place in September, this discussion focused on the path forward for ending this prolonged military conflict.

Amb. Grossman and Worden addressed the current challenges facing Afghanistan including a decline in the security situation and upcoming elections where the outcome is likely to be contested. They also commented on how the negotiating environment had changed since 2012 and expressed tepid optimism that the outcome would be different this time.


Scott Worden

Scott WordenScott Worden is director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). He comes into this role with an extensive background in reconstruction, development, democracy and governance, policy, among others; as well as extensive regional expertise on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Prior to joining USIP, he was director of the Lessons Learned Program at the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), and served as acting director of policy as well as a senior policy advisor for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In the latter position, he was responsible for advising senior officials on strategies for sustainable development in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

At his time at USIP, Mr. Worden directed Rule of Law development programs for the USIP and served as a United Nations-appointed Electoral Complaints Commissioner for the 2009 Afghanistan elections, as well as advising the U.N. on elections in 2005-06. Mr. Worden has a decade of experience working on Afghanistan issues and working in the field.

Originally from Boston, Mr. Worden earned his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.


Ambassador Marc Grossman

grossman marcAmbassador Grossman served as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the State Department’s third ranking official, until his retirement in 2005, after 29 years in the US Foreign Service. As Under Secretary, he helped marshal diplomatic support for the international response to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. He also managed US policies in the Balkans and Colombia and promoted a key expansion of the NATO alliance. As Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, he helped direct NATO’s military campaign in Kosovo and an earlier round of NATO expansion. In Turkey, Ambassador Grossman encouraged vibrant US-Turkish political, military, and economic relations.

Ambassador Grossman was a Vice Chairman of The Cohen Group from July, 2005 to February, 2011.

In February, 2011 President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton called Ambassador Grossman back to service as the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ambassador Grossman promoted the international effort to support Afghanistan by shaping major international meetings in Istanbul, Bonn, Chicago and Tokyo. He provided US backing for an Afghan peace process designed to end thirty years of conflict and played an important part in managing US relations with Pakistan. Ambassador Grossman returned to The Cohen Group in February, 2013.

Ambassador Grossman is the Chairman of the Board of the Senior Living Foundation of the Foreign Service. He serves as a Trustee of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and as a Trustee of the University of California, Santa Barbara Foundation. He is Vice Chair of the Board of the American Academy of Diplomacy and a Board Member of the Caribbean Educational and Baseball Foundation.

Raised in Los Angeles, California, Ambassador Grossman has a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an M.Sc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Off-the-Record Dinner with Lisa Curtis

On November 28th, Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record dinner for participants in the Fall 2017 Congressional Partnership Program with Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for South and Central Asia, Lisa Curtis. Ms. Curtis discussed U.S. policy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.


Lisa Curtis

Image result for lisa curtisLisa Curtis was appointed Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for South and Central Asia on April 24, 2017. She advises the President and the National Security Advisor and guides the U.S. inter-agency policy process on U.S. interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan.

Prior to serving at the National Security Council, Lisa focused on U.S. national security interests and regional geopolitics as senior research fellow on South Asia in The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. Her research focused on the U.S.-India strategic and defense partnership, U.S. counterterrorism policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and trends in Islamist extremism and religious freedom throughout the region. In this role, she regularly testified before Congress and appeared on major media outlets to discuss U.S. policy in South Asia.

Before joining Heritage in August 2006, Curtis worked for the U.S. government on South Asian issues for 16 years. From 2003 to 2006, she was a member of the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she was in charge of the South Asia portfolio for the chairman at the time, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN).

From 2001 to 2003, Curtis was the White House-appointed senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, where she advised on political developments and Indo-Pakistani relations. Before that, she worked as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and, in the mid-1990s, served as a diplomat in the U.S. embassies in Pakistan and India.

A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Curtis received a bachelor’s degree in economics at Indiana University.

 

America’s Longest War: The Future of Afghanistan

On August 29th, United States Institute of Peace Director for Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs, Scott Worden, and Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation, Luke Coffey, discussed the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the future of America’s Afghanistan policy. The discussion was moderated by Kenneth Katzman , a Specialist for Middle East Affairs with the Congressional Research Service.

This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff, and part of the USIP-PSA Briefing Series: Topics on International Conflict Resolution and Prevention.

 


Scott Worden

Scott Worden is director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). He comes into this role with an extensive background in reconstruction, development, democracy and governance, policy, among others; as well as extensive regional expertise on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Prior to joining USIP, he was director of the Lessons Learned Program at the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), and served as acting director of policy as well as a senior policy advisor for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In the latter position, he was responsible for advising senior officials on strategies for sustainable development in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

At his time at USIP, Mr. Worden directed Rule of Law development programs for the USIP and served as a United Nations-appointed Electoral Complaints Commissioner for the 2009 Afghanistan elections, as well as advising the U.N. on elections in 2005-06. Mr. Worden has a decade of experience working on Afghanistan issues and working in the field.

Originally from Boston, Mr. Worden earned his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.


Luke Coffey

Luke Coffey oversees research on nations stretching from South America to the Middle East as director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Coffey, named to the post in December 2015, is responsible for directing policy research for the Middle East, Africa, Russia and the former Soviet Union, the Western Hemisphere, and the Arctic region.

Coffey previously was Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher fellow, focusing on relations between the United States and the United Kingdom and on the role of NATO and the European Union in transatlantic and Eurasian security.Before joining the think tank’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in 2012, Coffey had served at the UK Ministry of Defence since 2010 as senior special adviser to then-British Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

Coffey, a U.S. Army veteran, was the first non-UK citizen appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to provide advice to senior British ministers. Among his duties was helping shape British defense policy in relation to transatlantic security, NATO, the European Union, and Afghanistan. In 2005, Coffey deployed to Afghanistan for a year and was awarded the Bronze Star.

Coffey received a master of science degree in the politics and government of the European Union from the London School of Economics. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and studied African politics as a visiting undergraduate at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.

 


Kenneth Katzman

Kenneth Katzman is a senior analyst of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Persian Gulf Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, which conducts research and analysis for the US Congress. His responsibilities include analyzing regional developments and US policy to assist members of Congress in their legislative and oversight responsibilities.

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