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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

26 Jul 2021
There was this idea that if you put a lot of resources into [Afghanistan] and a lot of willpower very quickly, that you can make what we otherwise know are long-term generational developments happen on some kind of speedy timeline that fits American policy priorities. And the world doesn't work that way. NPR

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
16 Apr 2021
The counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan had for years now become one of prevention, not one of identifying an imminent threat that must be countered. The Wall Street Journal

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
14 Apr 2021
It's a tragedy that the U.S. didn't get serious about trying to stitch together a peace process in Afghanistan much earlier, before the thread ran out. BBC News

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
21 Feb 2021
The [Afghan] peace process is the best option for a decent outcome, even though it’s the least likely to succeed. You need a six-month extension to have any possibility of getting it back on track. Los Angeles Times

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
11 Feb 2021
It's unlikely that Rohingya would be willing to return [to Myanmar] in a context in which the repression by the military overall is going up, not down. NPR

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
8 Oct 2020
It’s very strange indeed to have the president of the United States say something out loud and then have all the rest of us wondering if it really means anything. Washington Post

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia

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.

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

Commentary

Once Upon a Time, There Was a U.S. Foreign Policy Triumph

Laurel Miller, our Asia Program Director, draws from her experience of the 1995 Dayton negotiations to highlight key components of a past U.S. foreign policy success. She served in the U.S. State Department under three administrations, most recently as acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Speech / Asia

Afghanistan's Peace Process Will Be Long, Incremental and in Need of a Mediator

Speech by Laurel Miller, Program Director for Asia, at the United Nations Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on the Peace Process in Afghanistan.

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.