Merete Taksdal


Afghanistan’s history is intimately tied to world politics.  The latest chapter of this relationship is the unprecedented statebuilding project starting in 2001. Despite much significant change in the country, many of the lofty ambitions declared over the last decade and a half have not been realized. Our research explores the intersections between international agendas and local transformations in Afghanistan in fields such as security, women’s rights and migration. 

Completed projects

Dec 2017 - Feb 2018

[CoAR: Strategy development ]

Oct 2013 - Dec 2013

Policy Briefs Afghanistan

Nov 2012 - Dec 2012

Conflict Sensititive Training

Dec 2005 - Dec 2006

Web pages: Afghanistan

Jun 2004 - Dec 2004

NORAD Review Afghanistan

Jan 2004 - Jul 2004

Mainstreaming Mine Action

Antonio De Lauri

Research Professor

Yograj Gautam

Post Doctoral Researcher

Aziz Hakimi

Affiliated Senior Researcher

Arne Strand

Senior Researcher

Astri Suhrke

Emerita Research Professor

Torunn Wimpelmann

Research Director

Towards an unpredictable future

15 years of unparalleled Western military and aid involvement in Afghanistan have left few able to predict what the future holds for the country.  A year after the ISAF NATO mission formally ended, Afghanistan faces a deep crisis, politically, economically and militarily. Western capitals, concerned with the twin prospects of Islamist resurgence and increasing migration flows, have backtracked somewhat on their earlier pledges to withdraw from the country. Yet to move from what is essentially a stopgap measure to a more sustainable solution seems increasingly challenging. 

CMI research aims to contribute to a better knowledge base for central policy discussions in and about Afghanistan. Most of our research is carried out together with Afghan colleagues and research institutions. Our work on gender relations focuses on how best to address violence against women, which has been a central focus for local and donor women’s rights work. We argue that while increasing the criminal accountability for acts of violence is important, such efforts must be coupled with the strengthening of women’s civil, economic and sexual rights if women’s vulnerability to violence is to be reduced. Today many women prefer to return to highly abusive situations rather than to face the impossibilities of losing their children or their ability to survive financially and socially.

Afghanistan continues to be at war, with both civilian and military casualties at record levels. Our research on military policy and the protection of civilians investigates the effect of military operations on civilians and to what extent and how military actors attempt to reduce civilian harm. CMI research has also persistently argued that more energy and political capital should be invested in finding a political solution to the conflict. The economic and security crisis has caused an exceptional number of Afghans to leave their country and apply for asylum in Europe. Our research on migration has focused particularly on how some Afghan asylum seekers come to see returning to the country as their best (or only) choice and to what extent they are able to reintegrate back into Afghan society.