Gilles Dorronsoro

Nonresident Scholar
South Asia Program
Dorronsoro’s research focuses on security and political development in Afghanistan. He was a professor of political science at the Sorbonne in Paris and the Institute of Political Studies of Rennes.


PhD, Political Sociology, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
MA, Contemporary History, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
MA, International Relations, Paris 1 Sorbonne 
LLM, Paris 1 Sorbonne


English; French; Persian; Turkish


Gilles Dorronsoro, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment, is an expert on Afghanistan, Turkey, and South Asia. His research focuses on security and political development in Afghanistan, particularly the role of the International Security Assistance Force, the necessary steps for a viable government in Kabul, and the conditions necessary for withdrawal scenarios.

Previously, Dorronsoro was a professor of political science at the Sorbonne in Paris and the Institute of Political Studies in Rennes. He also served as the scientific coordinator at the French Institute of Anatolian Studies in Istanbul, Turkey.

He is the co-founder and editor of the South Asian Multidisciplinary Academic Journal and the European Journal of Turkish Studies. He is the author of Revolution Unending: Afghanistan, 1979 to the Present (Columbia University Press, 2005), and La révolution afghane, des communistes aux Taleban (Karthala Publishers 2000), and he is editor of La Turquie conteste. Régime sécuritaire et mobilisations sociales (Editions du CNRS, 2005).

Dorronsoro is an associate member of the French Institute of Anatolian Studies.

  • Op-Ed International Herald Tribune May 6, 2013
    Intervene With Western Aid

    The opposition in Syria needs a government more than it needs guns.

  • Paper April 16, 2013 عربي
    Building a Syrian State in a Time of Civil War

    The solution to the Syrian crisis lies in building a state within rebel-held territory that can replace the regime in Damascus.

  • Paper September 20, 2012
    Waiting for the Taliban in Afghanistan

    Without a clear plan for the 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington may find the country worse off, in some respects, than it was in 2001.

  • Afghanistan: The Impossible Transition
    Paper June 15, 2011
    Afghanistan: The Impossible Transition

    A combination of two critical problems threatens to undermine the mission of the United States–led coalition in Afghanistan: the failure of the counterinsurgency strategy and a disconnect between political objectives and military operations.

  • A Strategy for Afghanistan
    Op-Ed Politico June 9, 2011
    A Strategy for Afghanistan

    Considering that the international coalition will have fewer resources in Afghanistan next year, it is time to enter into a meaningful negotiation process with the Taliban.

  • Yes, the Afghans Hate Us
    Op-Ed National Interest May 5, 2011
    Yes, the Afghans Hate Us

    With Afghans growing increasingly frustrated by the Western forces in their country, President Obama should use the political cover provided by the death of Osama bin Laden to change his strategy in Afghanistan and negotiate with the Taliban.

  • Bin Laden Death Points to Way Out of Trap
    Op-Ed Bloomberg May 3, 2011 中文
    Bin Laden Death Points to Way Out of Trap

    The death of Osama bin Laden offers President Obama an opportunity to emphasize negotiations with the Taliban and facilitate a withdrawal from Afghanistan, even if its impact on global terrorism will be limited.

  • The War on Terror After Osama bin Laden
    Op-Ed New York Times May 2, 2011
    The War on Terror After Osama bin Laden

    While Osama bin Laden’s death will not put an end to jihadist groups, it could help facilitate a political solution in Afghanistan, offering President Obama the political capital and opportunity to begin negotiations with the Taliban.

  • The Impact of the Kandahar Prison Break
    Op-Ed New York Times April 26, 2011
    The Impact of the Kandahar Prison Break

    The recent mass escape from the main prison in Kandahar demonstrates that the insurgency in Afghanistan is growing more sophisticated and more active.

  • Americanization in Afghanistan
    Op-Ed The National Interest December 6, 2010
    Americanization in Afghanistan

    With the Europeans set to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, politicians in Washington risk an open-ended American commitment to the war with little benefit to U.S. security if they do not negotiate a settlement with the insurgents.

  • Gilles Dorronsoro
    PBS' Frontline February 23, 2010
    Behind Taliban Lines

    Security and social order in Afghanistan are continuing to deteriorate, especially in the north, and negotiating with the Taliban may become the only viable option for a sustainable peace.

  • Gilles Dorronsoro
    The Online NewsHour September 22, 2009
    Taking Stock of the Taliban's Strategy in Afghanistan

    The Taliban should not be underestimated. They are an organized and coordinated enemy, and the United States must change its strategy if there is to be any hope of success.

  • November 24, 2014 Washington, DC
    Jihadist Movements in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq: Inevitable Rise or Policy Failure?

    How has U.S. policy failed to anticipate current developments of jihadist movements from Afghanistan to Syria?

  • April 19, 2011 Beijing 中文
    Perspectives on the War in Afghanistan

    As NATO members approach their respective deadlines for withdrawal from Afghanistan, conditions on the ground and China’s role in the region merit greater attention and analysis.

  • December 2, 2010 Washington, D.C.
    War in Afghanistan—The December Review

    One year after announcing a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, the Obama administration is set to assess the current approach and officials are downplaying the possibility of a shift in tactics.

  • Dorronsoro and Bumiller
    September 23, 2010 Washington, D.C.
    Stopping the Taliban's Momentum?

    The Obama administration plans a strategic review of the war in December against the backdrop of rising costs both in lives and money and increasing unease with the Karzai government.

  • April 28, 2010 Washington, D.C.
    Afghanistan: Searching for Political Agreement

    Coalition strategy in Afghanistan has reached an impasse: tactical successes will not defeat the Taliban while Pakistan offers sanctuary, nor can security be “Afghanized” by a government that lacks legitimacy and is irreparably unpopular.

  • April 14, 2010 Brussels Français
    Talking to the Taliban: Quick-Fix or Political Solution?

    A growing consensus is emerging that direct negotiation with the Taliban leadership is the only option that will lead to a lasting political solution in Afghanistan.

  • January 28, 2010 London
    Beyond the Surge: A Political Strategy for Afghanistan?

    On the sidelines of the international ministerial conference on January 28th, Afghan stakeholders as well as Western experts brought their insights to shape the debate on the future of Afghanistan.

  • American soldier in Kandahar Province
    November 9, 2009 Washington, D.C.
    U.S. Afghan Strategy: The Big Questions

    As debate on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan continues, the big strategic questions sometimes get lost in the noise over troop numbers.

  • September 28, 2009 Washington, DC
    From Hindu Militias to Hindu Terrorism? Resisting and Emulating the Islamists in India

    India is home to a number of dissident Hindu extremist groups, who aim to set up parallel regional governments to satisfy their ethno-religious fanaticism, and who are often comparable to radical Islamist groups. These extremists are increasingly resorting to violence as a means for change.

  • September 22, 2009 Washington, D.C.
    Warlords as Bureaucrats: The Afghan Experience

    President Hamid Karzai has placed many warlords in positions of authority. Their use of informal powers has proven to be successful in areas ranging from security and reconstruction to counternarcotics.

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