Negotiating with Terrorists or Defeating Them: Counterinsurgency and Reconciliation Lessons from Colombia, Afghanistan, and Somalia

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Brookings Mountain West


This lecture reviews the evolution in insurgency and terrorism in Colombia, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Drawing on Dr. Felbab-Brown’s extensive fieldwork in the three countries over the past decade, it highlights the similarities and differences between the insurgent and terrorism groups and evaluates the effectiveness of policies adopted to end conflict. In all three countries, counterinsurgency and stabilization efforts were adopted, but with strikingly different designs and outcomes. Unlike in Somalia, the governments of Afghanistan and Colombia are currently involved in efforts to negotiate with “narcoterrorists,” a policy that would have been politically taboo only a few years ago. The process and even temporary outcomes have been strikingly different as well.


Afghanistan; Colombia; Counterinsurgency; Political stability; Somalia; Terrorism; Terrorism--Prevention


Defense and Security Studies | International and Area Studies | Peace and Conflict Studies

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Vanda Felbab-Brown is a Metropolitan Studies senior fellow with the Brookings Institution. This public lecture, sponsored by Brookings Mountain West, was delivered on March 30, 2016, in Greenspun Hall, on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

Downloadable files associated with this event are: "Negotiating with Terrorists or Defeating Them,"mp4 file