Twenty Years of Stabilization and Reconstruction: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan



David Young, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Date and Time

December 13, 2021 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM


RSVP Required.


Virtual Only. This event will not be held in person.

*For fall quarter 2021, CISAC will be hosting hybrid events. Many events will offer limited-capacity in-person attendance for Stanford faculty, staff, fellows, visiting scholars, and students in accordance with Stanford’s health and safety guidelines, and be open to the public online via Zoom. All CISAC events are scheduled using the Pacific Time Zone.




Seminar Recording

About the Event: The Afghan government’s collapse in August demonstrated that two decades of donor-driven state-building efforts failed to build a foundation for a stable, democratic, and prosperous Afghanistan. Why did the United States and its allies fail, and what should donors learn for similar state-building efforts in the future, both large and small?

Spanning the U.S. government’s problematic strategies, inappropriate timelines, and poor understanding of the Afghan context, lessons learned reports by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) have warned for years that the Afghan government was exceptionally fragile and that many of the gains alleged by the U.S. officials were hollow and unsustainable. This CISAC seminar will detail how and why the U.S. government should reform its own institutions to more effectively stabilize conflict-affected environments around the world. 

Download SIGAR’s 20th anniversary report, What We Need to Learn (2021)

Download SIGAR’s report, Stabilization: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan (2018)


About the Speaker: David H. Young is a supervisory research analyst at the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and a conflict and governance advisor with experience in six conflict/post-conflict environments: Afghanistan, the Sahel, Israel/Palestine, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Northern Ireland. At SIGAR, he was the lead author of three comprehensive lessons learned reports: 1) A study of U.S. efforts to stabilize contested Afghan communities, 2) A review of U.S. efforts to build credible and transparent Afghan electoral institutions, and 3) the agency’s 20th anniversary report, What We Need to Learn. He was a civilian advisor to ISAF in Nuristan and Laghman provinces during the Afghanistan surge and subsequently served as a governance advisor to the World Bank, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Afghanistan's Independent Directorate of Local Governance. His writing and commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, and the Daily Beast, among others.

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