With news that the Afghan Taliban are reportedly open for talks to end the conflict, the need to understand the origins, motivations, and evolution of the insurgency is more pressing than ever.

This seminar will describe the conditions under which the Taliban insurgency emerged after 2001, how the organization is structured, and why it has recently splintered. We will explore the possibilities of a negotiated settlement, and the worrying rise of ISIS as a competitor to the Taliban.

PRIO is proud to introduce Anand Gopal. Gopal is an author and journalist, a graduate fellow at INCITE at Columbia University, and author of the book No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes.Gopal reported for Harper's Magazine on the town of Taftanaz in Syria, which suffered a massacre at the hands of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. He served as a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor in Afghanistan. He is notable for being one of the only foreign journalists to embed with the Taliban.

With its intimate accounts of life in war-torn Afghanistan, Gopal’s thoroughly original reporting lays bare the workings of America’s longest war and the truth behind its prolonged agony. A heartbreaking story of mistakes and misdeeds, No Good Men Among the Living challenges our usual perceptions of the Afghan conflict, its victims, and its supposed winners.

The seminar will be chaired by Kristian Berg Harpviken, Director of PRIO