Javid Ahmad is a Program Coordinator for Asia at the German Marshall Fund of the United States where he works on Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Internet freedom. He also instructs senior U.S. military and civilian officials about the region. Prior to joining GMF, Ahmad worked in the Political and Legislative Section of the Embassy of Afghanistan and the Public Affairs Office of Voice of America, both in Washington, DC. He has also worked on democracy promotion for organizations in Kabul and has served as an international election observer during Afghanistan's presidential and parliamentary elections. Ahmad's writing has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, The Daily Beast, The National Interest, CNN.com, and Foreign Policy magazine’s AfPak Channel.
A native of Afghanistan, Ahmad has a B.A. in International Relations from Beloit College and studied International Diplomacy and EU Affairs at Vesalius College in Brussels.
Click here for this author's GMF blog posts.
News ArticlesAfghanistan’s crowded electoral rosterOctober 11, 2013The frenzied phase of registration for the 2014 presidential election in Afghanistan ended Sunday with more names on the roster than expected, more last-minute horse-trading than anticipated, and more questions than answers.Why Afghanistan Doesn’t Trust Nawaz SharifSeptember 13, 2013Despite considerable optimism in the West that Sharif’s return would enable the two countries to turn a new page, Afghans expect very little. Questions remain, however, about which Nawaz Sharif should Afghanistan be dealing with.Peace talks only benefit TalibanJune 21, 2013While the trilateral negotiations between the Taliban, Afghanistan, and the United States have not yet started, they have already hit several important snags.Are Afghans really ready to take over security?June 20, 2013Despite NATO’s insistence that it will not abandon Afghanistan, the allies are seemingly struggling to agree on just what that engagement might look like.Should India Provide Direct Military Aid To Afghanistan?May 14, 2013New Delhi has been reluctant to become directly involved in supporting Afghanistan’s nascent security sector.Who Will Lead Afghanistan after Karzai?April 04, 2013As Hamid Karzai’s Afghan presidency enters its final year, it’s not too early to consider the question of who will become his successor. Afghanistan’s Special Forces Are A Bastion of HopeJanuary 25, 2013Responsibly preparing to deter many of the threats Afghanistan will face after 2014 requires more Afghan Special Forces.Has Pakistan’s Afghan Policy Really Shifted?December 21, 2012There are reasons to believe that any shift in Pakistan's Afghanistan policy is short-term and tactical.U.S. has work cut out to make sure Afghan forces are combat readyDecember 10, 2012US has a challenging task as it prepares Afghan security forces for 2014 drawdown.Afghan Security Returns to the GrassrootsNovember 30, 2012Influential village and tribal leaders still command great legitimacy and act as interlocutors between the government and the local people.Can Obama Get Afghanistan Right in Second Term?November 14, 2012Kabul is once again vying for Washington’s attention, now that the U.S. presidential elections are over.Securing the Durand Line could bring peace to AfghanistanNovember 04, 2012The best way to end the countless challenges on both sides of Afghanistan's frontier is to insist on demarcating the Durand Line and to govern it effectively. Avoiding Another Afghan Civil WarOctober 22, 2012Once Washington emerges from the election cycle, it must revisit its Afghan war policy and develop contingencies for a post-2014 Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, deadly ignoranceOctober 08, 2012In Afghanistan, cultural cluelessness can be deadly. Eleven Years After 9/11, Afghanistan Still MattersSeptember 11, 2012The war in Afghanistan has become largely invisible in Washington.The silence is particularly noticeable on the presidential campaign trail.Cultural sensitivity key to U.S. role in AfghanistanAugust 31, 2012Recent green-on-blue attacks have severely eroded NATO’s trust in its local partners and they present a major challenge to the U.S. exit strategy.Why civil servants hold the key to Afghan prosperityAugust 17, 2012Kabul's struggle to find competent replacements following the ouster of Karzai's two prominent ministers highlights deeper problems with Afghan politics that reveal the absence of Afghan civil service.Afghanistan Needs Less Foreign AidJuly 27, 2012Kabul’s dangerous complacency can be reined in by weeding out the underlying problem: reducing foreign aid and engaging Kabul in structural reforms.Afghanistan’s Political Crisis: A Short-term solutionJuly 10, 2012
Politics in Afghanistan is broken, just as the country finds itself juggling multiple political and security challenges. Among the most pressing is ensuring a smooth political transition of power by 2014. Unfortunately, with Kabul torn apart by infighting and factionalism, the prospects of succeeding are bleak. In the absence of alternative mechanisms, one way of commanding greater political legitimacy would be the convening of a Loya Jirga.Pakistan Collapsing from WithinJune 27, 2012
Recent developments in Islamabad signify the deep rift between Pakistan's different internal institutions - civilian government, the powerful military, the increasingly active judiciary, and the many opposition groups - each juggling varied and often deeply conflicting agendas. The cost of this power struggle, however, seems to be given little consideration by the players involved.Election 2014: Afghanistan’s Chance to Get it Right?May 10, 2012
At a time when the U.S. is in need of widespread public support on the Afghan mission, the administration's tone on Afghan governance is feeble.U.S. Must Focus on Upcoming Leadership Change in AfghanistanMay 02, 2012
When Obama made his secret visit to Afghanistan yesterday, he emphasized America's security role. The US needs to focus on helping Afghanistan build its political and governing capabilities. The Afghan presidential election looms with no plan for a smooth transition of power.U.S. Has Few Good Options on Afghan Peace Ahead of NATO SummitApril 27, 2012
The U.S. has two options for a political solution before withdrawing from Afghanistan. As the Chicago NATO summit approaches, can a deal be found via Pakistan?U.S.-Afghan CodependenceMarch 28, 2012
A cascade of recent incidents and missteps, including the tragic killing of sixteen sleeping Afghan villagers by a U.S. soldier in Kandahar and the burning of Korans at the Bagram air base, has riled many and escalated tensions between the United States and Afghanistan.Can the Afghan economy be saved?February 03, 2012
Afghanistan is in shambles. With all attention on security concerns, the economy has been left to flounder. But there is long-term potential
in a New Silk Road strategy.
The current round of the Afghanistan debate is riddled with mischaracterizations. While the Cold War produced a cohort of Soviet specialists, the war in Afghanistan has failed to produce sufficient regional expertise in the United States.Bonn and Beyond: Afghanistan’s Uncertain FutureNovember 14, 2011
While there is no silver bullet for Afghanistan's ills, next month's meeting will at least provide an opportunity for the United States and NATO to lay out a functional roadmap ahead of and beyond 2014 for a successful political, security and economic transition, good governance, peace and reconciliation, and rule of law....The Fine Line Between Culture and Law in AfghanistanOctober 27, 2011
Countries that have experienced decades of conflict and political turmoil, and have historically featured persistent executive-judicial disputes tend to have less judicial autonomy. Afghanistan epitomizes this....Big Tent Key to Saving AfghanistanOctober 14, 2011
The US and Afghan governments need to rethink the current peace process. Striking a deal with the Taliban is no magic bullet....
PublicationsWhat Next for NATOMay 23, 2012
This policy brief looks at current and future challenges for NATO from a variety of perspectives.From Transition to Transformation: Europe’s Afghanistan Decade?March 19, 2012
The Afghanistan war represents NATO’s greatest international test since the Cold War. However, without discrediting the efforts made by the ISAF mission’s EU member states, the EU has, in certain respects, punched below its weight in Afghanistan. European initiatives such as the EUPOL have proved inadequate. The EU must step up its efforts in Afghanistan to focus more on the country’s transformation into a stable and self-sufficient state by helping it develop its economy, improve its police force, ensure long-term security cooperation, and constructively engage the region, with a particular focus on Pakistan.