March 09, 2023

Against All Odds: Supporting Civil Society and Human Rights in Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan

Washington, March 9, 2023—Today, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released a new report, "Against All Odds: Supporting Civil Society and Human Rights in Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan," from authors Lisa Curtis, Annie Pforzheimer, and Jan Mohammad Jahid.

The report provides a detailed analysis on the rapidly declining situation—especially for women and girls—in Afghanistan and highlights ways the U.S. can serve as a catalyst for addressing the human rights disaster befalling the country. The authors assert that the U.S. must work more closely with like-minded international partners as well as Afghan civil society actors, expatriate Afghans, and the political opposition to improve human rights and bolster civil society inside the country.

"The United States will have the greatest chance of impacting human rights inside Afghanistan if it works closely with European players committed to protecting Afghan women and preserving civil society gains," write the authors. "As part of the long-standing U.S.–European Union (EU) partnership on Afghanistan, the EU may be poised for greater influence in impacting the country’s political and human rights situation."

Acknowledging the Taliban may well stay in power for some years, the authors go on to state that the international community will need to maintain some level of engagement with the group to prevent a humanitarian disaster and to influence their behavior, if only in minor ways.

The report concludes with several specific, actionable policy recommendations for 1) the United States, 2) the U.S. Congress, and 3) the Afghan diaspora, exile, and civil society communities. Read the full report for these policy recommendations and more.

For more information or to schedule an interview with the report authors, please contact Cameron Edinburgh at

Read the Report:

Indo-Pacific Security

Against All Odds

Eighteen months after taking power, the Taliban is intensifying its repression of Afghan civil society and cracking down on the rights and freedoms of all Afghans, especially ...

Read More