Strategic dialogues

The participants of the Atlantic Council / Rockefeller Brothers Fund Strategic Dialogues have been working for the past eight months to develop a long-term strategic outlook to promote stability in Afghanistan consistent with Afghan, US, and European interests and values. This group of distinguished European, American, and Afghan diplomats, military officers, scholars, and analysts brought to our deliberations a deep understanding of the context both on the ground and among the allies. We explored a diplomatic-security framework based on the minimal conditions and variables necessary to realize a long-term vision of a sovereign, unified, democratic, peaceful, and prosperous Afghanistan and generated recommendations to support this vision.

Flagship report

Illicit Networks-Zaranj

In-Depth Research & Reports

Jul 15, 2020

Strategies for reforming Afghanistan’s illicit networks

By Harris Samad and Fatima Salman

Authored in-house and advised upon by senior fellows Ambassador James B. Cunningham, Ambassador Omar Samad, Marika Theros, Javid Ahmad, and Fatemeh Aman, this report explores illicit networks in Afghanistan in the context of peacebuilding, democratic consolidation, and enhancing state capacity. It concludes by outlining several specific policy recommendations that will be necessary to combat the illicit networks in a manner that supports the durability of the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan and the continued consolidation of its fragile democratic institutions.

Afghanistan Arms Control

The South Asia Center serves as the Atlantic Council’s focal point for work on the region as well as relations between these countries, neighboring regions, Europe, and the United States.



In the News

Apr 11, 2022

Amb. Rahmani in Washington Post: The world must demand the Taliban stop restricting girls’ education

By Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Education

New Atlanticist

Apr 1, 2022

Policy memo: Four ways to send money and aid to Afghanistan

By Julia Friedlander, Mrugank Bhusari

Now that the international community has pledged billions for Afghanistan, it is time to consider creative financial tools that can effectively deliver these funds to those who need them most.

Afghanistan Economic Sanctions


Mar 29, 2022

Let Afghan girls learn

By Nilofar Sakhi

The Taliban must be held accountable for the damage they have caused and continue to inflict upon the people–and most critically the women and girls–of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Education


Mar 28, 2022

For Afghanistan’s economic revival, focus on macroeconomic stability, financial flows, and economic governance

By Paul Fishstein and Murtaza E. Amiryar

The Biden administration’s General License, announced in February 2022 and exempting international commercial transactions from US sanctions, is a step in the right direction, but its effects will prove limited.

Afghanistan Economy & Business

In the News

Mar 24, 2022

Polymeropoulos in the New York Times on the will to fight

By Atlantic Council

Marc Polymeropoulos discusses CIA officers' assessments of the Afghan regular army’s will to fight after the US withdrawal in 2021.

Afghanistan Conflict

In the News

Mar 14, 2022

Hakimi in RFE/RL on the Afghanistan humanitarian crisis

By Atlantic Council


New Atlanticist

Mar 2, 2022

The United States must help Afghan women and girls—even if it requires partnership with China

By Sahana Dharmapuri and Eric Richardson

It’s time for the Biden administration to look beyond its competition with China and realize that sometimes cooperation makes sense, even with one’s adversaries.

Afghanistan China

In the News

Mar 2, 2022

Plitsas in Voice of America on Afghan evacuation

By Atlantic Council

Forward Defense's Alex Plitsas estimates the number Afghans that have escaped the Taliban in the last six months.

Afghanistan Extremism


Mar 1, 2022

Afghanistan’s future after the Taliban takeover: Civil war or disintegration?

By Natiq Malikzada

Amid the withdrawal of foreign troops, the lingering issue of ethnic discord once again is rearing its ugly head across Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding


Feb 28, 2022

An aid-trade corridor is key to the Afghan economy’s revival

By Gul Maqsood Sabit

Humanitarian assistance is a temporary solution to a long-term problem in Afghanistan. To reduce aid dependency and give hope to a suffering population, it is essential that the economy remains somewhat functional and the Afghan currency holds some value.

Afghanistan Economy & Business