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  • Author: Pavithra Banavar, Nicholas Howenstein
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In early January, in a surprising turn of events, the head of Bangladesh's caretaker government, Iajuddin Ahmed, stepped down under military pressure. As he did so, he declared a state of emergency, suspended civil liberties, and indefinitely postponed Bangladesh's elections, which had been scheduled for January 22, 2007. Fakhruddin Ahmed replaced him as head of the caretaker government. Most of these events have taken place with relatively little attention from the international community.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Asia
  • Author: Lynn Tesser
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On November 21, 2006, Nepal's government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) signed a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) to formally end their ten-year conflict, which has resulted in an estimated 13,000 deaths. The agreement has been widely hailed as historic and many observers feel cautiously optimistic, in spite of the hurdles that lie ahead. On January 22, 2007, the U.S. Institute of Peace sponsored a one-day program in Washington, D.C., to address the challenges Nepal now faces. It brought together a broad spectrum of attendees, from representatives of academia and international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to the U.S. Departments of State and Justice. Presenters were asked to comment on particular challenges that Nepal faces during the peace process. This USIPeace Briefing provides an overview of the presentations given at the conference, and includes remarks from Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch (former U.S. ambassador to Nepal and president of the U.S.–China Education Trust); Dr. Chitra K. Tiwari (journalist, The Washington Times); Dr. Jaya Raj Acharya (senior fellow, USIP); and Kul Chandra Gautam (assistant secretary-general of the UN and deputy executive director of UNICEF). It was prepared by Lynn Tesser, program officer in USIP's Jennings Randolph Fellowship program.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Government, International Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Beth Cole, Catherine Morris
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Taliban fighters have re-emerged in full force in Afghanistan and insurgency-related violence has increased to record levels, resulting in 2,732 fatalities between September 1, 2006, and February 25, 2007. According to the United Nations, the 35,460-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), along with the 8,000 troops deployed under the United States-led coalition command, has begun its own offensive against the insurgency in the south, targeting opium growing regions and Taliban safe zones. From safe havens in the Pakistan border areas, the Taliban are now pursuing a long-term strategy of exploiting their control of remote villages to gain control of districts and then regions. Thus, a conflict that had been pushed down on the U.S. and international agendas is now reemerging. As the Taliban regroups and continues its insurgency, the international community is faced with the need to re-evaluate and strengthen its own plan of action.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Sarah Dye
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the Soviet invasion of 1979, Afghanistan's health system has been decimated by over 27 years of near constant conflict. The ensuing civil war between warlords and rebel groups, including the Taliban, led many Afghan doctors and other intellectuals to flee to Pakistan, Iran, and elsewhere. Under Taliban rule in the 1990s, women were forbidden to attend school, and university teaching hospitals had no equipment, no training materials, and few books. While there have been advances over the past five years through the assistance of United Nations organizations and the international NGO community, Afghanistan's health indicators remain among the lowest in the world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Health
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Karon Cochran-Budhathoki, Colette Rausch
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In February 2007, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) facilitated a series of dialogues in Kathmandu, Nepal between civil society, the Nepal police, and representatives of political parties. The aim was to identify those areas of mutual concern related to security and the rule of law in Nepal. Civil society representatives from development organizations, media, human rights groups, the legal community, and Dalit and Janajati rights groups participated. The representatives from the Nepal police included deputy inspector generals, senior superintendents, superintendents, and deputy superintendents of police. The dialogue sessions were conducted over the course of four days. On day one, civil society representatives met to discuss the challenges and possible solutions to security and the rule of law. The next day, the police discussed the same issues. On day three, the two groups came together to develop a joint list of high-priority issues. On the final day, the police and civil society representatives presented this joint list to political party representatives.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Beth Cole, Catherine Morris
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan supplies more than 90 percent of the world's opium. Despite concerted efforts to tackle the drug problem in Afghanistan, the industry continues to grow at an alarming rate, particularly in the south, where reconstruction efforts lag amidst poor security. Afghanistan's opium crop grew 59 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to UN reports, and officials expect a crop equal to if not greater than the 2006 crop in 2007. Overall, the industry accounts for nearly one-third of the country's economy and remains one of the chief threats to Afghanistan's security and development, as it becomes increasingly linked to corrupt Afghan officials and the Taliban.
  • Topic: International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Scott Worden, Christina Caan
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nearly six years after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, efforts to develop civil society are showing tentative signs of progress. Advances are especially evident in the increasing capacity of Afghan non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Kabul. But the effectiveness of civil society in influencing development in the provinces remains low, and rising insecurity in many regions threatens the future prospects of the nascent Afghan civil society.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: Emily Wann
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nepal is in a period of transition to peace and democracy, progressing on many fronts but encountering some challenges and threats to sustainable peace along the way. King Gyanendra relinquished absolute control and reinstated the House of Representatives on April 24, 2006, underscoring the movement toward democracy. The Maoists and the government of Nepal signed a peace agreement on November 21, 2006, and then a ceasefire agreement on December 8, 2006, ending the ten-year insurgency. An Interim Constitution was adopted on January 15, 2007, and the Maoists joined the government. Despite these positive steps, the Terai region, located in the southern lowlands of Nepal near the border of India, has experienced a surge in violence from the last six months.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Rachel Steele
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the election of new leaders and the establishment of a new constitution, the government of Afghanistan has been trying to prove its legitimacy and ability to foster stability, security, and the rule of law. The Taliban resurgence is playing a major role in public perception of the government's competence and the role of the international forces. Understanding current trends in public opinion can aid in tailoring the international intervention to ensure that prior progress is not lost and that elements corroding the strength of the state are diminished.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban
  • Author: Karon Cochran-Budhathoki
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This USIPeace Briefing highlights the findings regarding the security situation in Nepal in the run up to constituent assembly elections scheduled for November 22, 2007. Since February 2007 the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has held individual meetings and group dialogue sessions on strengthening security and the rule of law in Nepal. These events have taken place in Washington, D.C., Kathmandu, Banke, Siraha, Kailali, Jhapa, Chitwan and Rupandehi Districts. During the sessions and meetings, including with members of the security sector, challenges and solutions to strengthening security and the rule of law were identified and discussed. While election security for the upcoming Constituent Assembly Election was not the primary subject of the discussions, various participants offered a number of recommendations and raised several concerns. Additionally, general security issues, many of which are related to election security, were discussed and can be included in a broader long-term security strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Asia, Nepal