On December 5, ten years after the invasion, a second Bonn conference on Afghanistan will take place. This time there is little optimism about the future, great uncertainty and much at stake. Some pointers for the future can nevertheless be gleaned from recent Afghan history as well as an assessment of peace processes elsewhere.

To discuss these issues, PRIO will host a double-session seminar. The first session will present a new report on peace processes from a joint project between PRIO, CMI and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The report will be presented by Hamish Nixon. Astri Suhrke and Kai Eide will comment.

The second session will be a discussion between Kristian Berg Harpviken, Kai Eide and Astri Suhrke about her recent book When More is Less. The International Project in Afghanistan (Columbia/Hurst, 2011) and the Norwegian translation, Eksperimentet Afghanistan. Det Internasjonale Engasjementet Etter Talibans Fall(Spartacus, 2011). Suhrke's book examines how the Western coalition became so deeply involved in Afghanistan and why the results were so mixed. The Norwegian edition will be available for purchase.

Refreshments and snacks will be served.


Ambassador Kai Eide is the former United Nations Special Representative to Afghanistan and head of UNAMA (2008-2010). He currently serves as the Norwegian representative to the Balkans, and before his post in Afghanistan, he was Political Director in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2008). Kai has spent significant parts of his diplomatic career in the UN, NATO, the OSCE and CSCE. He has also written extensively on foreign policy issues, primarily on Balkan affairs. His latest book Høyt Spill om Afghanistan(Cappelen Damm, 2010) details his two years in Afghanistan.

Hamish Nixon is currently coordinating the CMI-USIP-PRIO project Achieving Durable Peace in Afghanistan. Prior to this he was the Subnational Governance Specialist at the Afghanistan Country Office of the World Bank, he spent three years as the governance researcher at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, and he has held teaching postitions at Kingston University and the Queen's College, University of Oxford. Hamish completed a PhD on comparative peace processes and post-conflict political development at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and has worked on post-conflict governance and elections in Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Palestinian Territories, El Salvador, and Cambodia. He has published articles and chapters on citizen security, statebuilding and democratisation, subnational governance, and aid effectiveness.

Astri Suhrke holds a PhD in international relations and is a senior researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute. Her research focuses on the social, political and humanitarian consequences of violent conflict and strategies of response. More recently, she has worked on the politics of humanitarian policies in the UN system, concepts of human security and peacebuilding. Her published work also deals with strategies of post-war reconstruction and statebuilding, with particular reference to Afghanistan. She has led several research projects funded by the Research Council of Norway: The Multilateral Aid system (2001-03); Aid in Post-Conflict Situations (2003-05), and Violence in the Post-Conflict State (2005-08). Apart from the book launched at this seminar, her most recent books are the co-edited anthologies The Peace In Between: Post-War Violence and Peacebuilding (Routledge, 2011) and Roads to Reconciliation (Lanham, 2005).

Kristian Berg Harpviken is Director of PRIO and holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Oslo. He has initiated and led several major projects, including ‘Assistance to Mine-Affected Communities’ (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1999-2006) and ‘State Failure and Regional Insecurity’ (The Research Council of Norway, 2006-2008). His research interests include the dynamics of civil war (mobilization, conflict resolution, post-war reconstruction and peacebuilding), migration and transnational communities, and methodology in difficult contexts. Kristian has a particular interest in and has authored several chapters and articles on Afghanistan and its neighbourhood, including the monograph Social Networks and Migration in Wartime Afghanistan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).