Lessons from International Security Force Assistance in Afghanistan: A Negotiation Exercise

Event Format

Join the Negotiation Task Force on Friday, October 15, for "Lessons from international security force assistance in Afghanistan: A negotiation exercise." The event will kick off with brief commentary by Dr. Philipp Ackermann, Director‑General of the German Foreign Office; Dr. Arvid Bell, Director of the Negotiation Task Force and Lecturer on Government at Harvard, and Ms. Eva Kahan, Conflict Finance Analyst at C4ADS. Please note that space is limited, and completing the registration form does not guarantee a spot. All individuals who are selected to attend will receive confirmation.

This exercise models some of the challenges that UN-mandated military missions face in negotiating with local governments, militaries, and civil society, as well as the tension between those missions, international humanitarian and diplomatic goals, and domestic concerns. The exercise focuses on the complex interactions between civil society, tribal leadership, non-state actors, great power competitors, and tension within the US policy apparatus during the deployment of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghanistan.

The exercise will conclude with a debrief on “what went wrong” with ISAF and a discussion of the implications for the current situation in Afghanistan.


  • 12:30-1:00: Opening Remarks: Afghanistan's security and political situation  
  • 1:00-4:00: Exercise
  • 4:00-5:00: Debrief


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or daviscenter@fas.harvard.edu in advance of your participation or visit. Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.