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Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
Washington, D.C.

Crisis Group Role

As Director of International Crisis Group’s Asia Program, Laurel leads the organisation’s research, analysis, and policy advocacy about and in the region. She joined Crisis Group in January 2019.

Professional Background

Prior to joining Crisis Group, Laurel was a senior foreign policy expert at the RAND Corporation, 2017-2018 and 2009-2013. Her research and analysis at RAND covered a wide range of subjects including conflict resolution, democratisation, institution-building, and anti-corruption in countries throughout the world. From 2013 to mid-2017, Laurel was the deputy and then acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U.S. Department of State.

During previous U.S. government service, she was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Senior Advisor to the U.S. special envoy for the Balkans, and Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. She was directly involved in peace negotiations in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia. Laurel also served as Director for western hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council.

Laurel was a senior expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she focused on constitution-making, rule of law development, and transitional justice. She has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown. Earlier, Laurel practiced law with Covington & Burling in Washington, DC, and Brussels. She was an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. Laurel is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Chicago Law School.

Laurel has been widely interviewed including by the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, NPR, PBS NewsHour, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. She has published commentaries in Foreign Policy, Los Angeles Times, The National InterestThe New York Times, The Washington Post and elsewhere.

Select Publications

Laurel edited and co-authored an extensive study of constitution-making processes, “Framing the State in Times of Transition” (USIP Press, 2010). Her RAND publications include “Envisioning a Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Afghanistan” (2019), “Democratization in the Arab World” (2012), “Building a More Resilient Haitian State” (2010), and “Overcoming Obstacles to Peace” (2013).

In The News

24 Mar 2020
Huge slashes of aid would mean the U.S. is no longer seeing the [Afghan] government’s survival as necessary to protect U.S. interests. New York Times

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
1 Mar 2020
The negotiations among the Afghan parties... will have to tackle much more difficult issues of who gets to wield power in the country and how the government is going to be organized. Los Angeles Times

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
11 Feb 2020
Looks like U.S.-Taliban deal is imminent. That will be the biggest milestone by far in 10 years of off-and-on efforts to launch an Afghan peace process. VOA

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
21 Oct 2019
The Taliban have always said, ‘We will never negotiate the future of Afghanistan while foreign troops have their boots on our soil.’ They compromised on that, and that’s huge. The New Yorker

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
27 Aug 2019
A U.S.-Taliban deal cannot be a peace agreement because it settles nothing about the dispute within Afghanistan. It only settles the question of the American presence in Afghanistan. NPR

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
5 Jul 2019
An agreement that is just between the US and the Taliban is not a peace agreement for Afghanistan. AFP

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia

Latest Updates

Speech / United States

Prospects for Peace: The Way Forward in Afghanistan

In this testimony delivered to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Crisis Group's Asia Program Director Laurel Miller analyses the 29 February U.S.-Taliban agreement, assessing its implications for both the U.S. military presence and the larger peace process in Afghanistan.

Op-Ed / Asia

Will the U.S.-Taliban Deal End the War?

The value of the expected agreement between the United States and the Taliban lies in opening the door to an Afghan peace process.

Originally published in The New York Times

Op-Ed / Asia

No, we couldn’t win in Afghanistan. But we shouldn’t leave without a peace deal.

Even knowing what we now know, a hasty exit isn’t the answer.

Originally published in The Washington Post

Speech / Asia

The Trump Administration’s Afghanistan Policy

In this written statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on 19 September, Crisis Group's Program Director for Asia Laurel Miller assesses the Trump Administration's efforts to secure a peace deal with the Taliban and the potential risks and rewards of such a deal. 

Also available in پښتو
Q&A / Asia

Behind Trump’s Taliban Debacle

On 7 September, U.S. President Donald Trump made the startling announcement that he had invited Taliban leaders to Camp David for talks – and then cancelled the gathering. Crisis Group Asia Program Director Laurel Miller and consultant Graeme Smith explain what happened and what it means for prospects of ending Afghanistan’s war.