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Lessons for peace: engaging with Afghanistan after four decades of conflict and one year of new Taliban administration

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Alastair McKechnie, Mark Bowden, Ed Laws

Image credit:Photo by Mohammad Husaini on Unsplash

This short paper summarises the overarching lessons from ODI’s Lessons for Peace (L4P) project, a three-year research and advisory platform that has supported international partners to Afghanistan with evidence, advice, and analysis. It then takes stock of the current challenges facing the country, before outlining eight steps the international community can take in order to support future peace and the needs of the Afghan people.

These steps represent an incremental approach to engagement with the Taliban among OECD partners and multilateral organisations, and could support a transition from the current reliance on humanitarian aid to a more permanent national system of service delivery. The political and operational challenges this would pose should not be underestimated. But given the potential for a major humanitarian emergency and refugee crisis, increased violence, and the return of transnational terrorist organisations, this report argues that international partners should attend to the lessons from past failures and attempt to meet these challenges head on.