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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

14 Aug 2021
What we’re seeing is a tsunami of individual decisions to abandon the Afghan government, and all of those individual decisions have added up to a collapse. Washington Post

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
9 Aug 2021
The Taliban [in Afghanistan], I think, would prefer to have legitimacy and financial assistance from the international community. But their number one preference is gaining power. AFP

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
29 Jul 2021
[President Biden] judged that, although undesirable, that deterioration of conditions in Afghanistan is tolerable for U.S. national security interests. The Independent

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia
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

Latest Updates

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.