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Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan

Crisis Group Role

Andrew Watkins is Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Afghanistan. He focuses on prospects and challenges for a peace process in the Afghan conflict. He joined the organisation in February 2020. 

Professional Background

Before joining Crisis Group, Andrew worked as a political affairs officer for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and as an independent researcher. Prior to working for the UN, Andrew was a conflict analyst and adviser to the humanitarian community in Afghanistan for several years, and previously served as a liaison with Afghan security forces for the U.S. Department of State. Andrew has a BA from Columbia University and an MA from Harvard University. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Insurgency and terrorism
  • Security sector reform
  • Humanitarian access and engagement in conflict


  • English
  • Spanish
  • Dari

In The News

15 Jul 2021
You see a sense of surprise and alarmed reaction from regional powers to the speed of the Taliban advance, but the counterpoint is a lot them saw the writing on the wall as early as [Barack] Obama’s announcement that the US was going to draw down and withdraw nearly a decade ago. The Guardian

Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
24 Jun 2021
The Taliban are strengthening their chokeholds around major cities [...] The fall of Kabul is not imminent. The Taliban is not an unstoppable military juggernaut. Al Jazeera

Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
23 Apr 2021
It is unclear how much Iran's essentially defensive, border-oriented interests in Afghanistan would expand, if at all. RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
27 Mar 2021
[The legitimacy the Taliban want is] never going to come without engaging with the outside world and the international community. The Washington Post

Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
8 Dec 2020
If the Taliban want to become a legitimate power in an Afghan state, then they’re going to need to show the world that they take global counterterrorism concerns seriously. The Washington Post

Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
11 Sep 2020
Posturing from the Taliban... suggests they perceive their current position to be one of great strength. Yahoo News Australia

Andrew Watkins

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan

Latest Updates

Podcast / Asia

The Taliban’s Advance in Afghanistan

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood talks to Crisis Group experts Laurel Miller and Andrew Watkins about the Taliban’s recent gains across Afghanistan as U.S. and NATO forces withdraw, what this means for the war’s trajectory and prospects for peace talks.

Q&A / Asia

How the U.S. Withdrawal Decision Will Affect the Afghan Conflict

Washington’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 11 September spells an end to the U.S. military deployment but not peace. Crisis Group expert Andrew Watkins anticipates that negotiations will likely stall and Afghans will fear an intensified civil war as the U.S. role evolves.

Podcast / Asia

How Afghanistan Views the U.S. Troop Drawdown

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Crisis Group’s Afghanistan expert Andrew Watkins about the looming withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, how Afghan leaders are preparing and the challenges ahead.

Op-Ed / Asia

There’s No Shortcut to Peace in Afghanistan

Washington’s latest idea of a transitional government would be worse than the dysfunctional status quo.

Originally published in Foreign Policy

Speech / Asia

Testimony on Afghanistan to the European Parliament

In testimony to the European Parliament about efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Crisis Group expert Andrew Watkins describes the current scale of fighting, Taliban policies and how outside actors can support the peace process.