While the need for a peace process to end the conflict in Afghanistan becomes clearer with each passing month, there are deep doubts about the chances of achieving a settlement. While the challenges are formidable, they are also potentially surmountable with the right kind of process and settlement. All the phases of a peace process are linked. Beginning a process requires more than a conducive military situation; it also calls for potential negotiation scenarios that can generate the confidence to take the initial steps. The kind of negotiation that takes place will influence the comprehensiveness, quality, and therefore sustainability of the outcome. This report, funded by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is the product of a joint research project of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), and the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) to identify issues and options to support durable peace in Afghanistan. Previous publications stemming from the project include several USIP Peace Briefs and two research papers: Hamish Nixon, “Achieving Durable Peace: Afghan Perspectives on a Peace Process” (Oslo: PRIO, May 2011) and Deedee Derksen, “Peace from the Bottom-Up? The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program” (Oslo: PRIO, September 2011).
Nixon, Hamish & Caroline Hartzell (2011) Beyond Power-sharing: Institutional Options for an Afghan Peace Process. USIP Peaceworks: 78. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace.