Deedee Derksen PhD

TrustWorks Associate

Deedee has over 15 years of experience working in conflict-affected areas. She started her career at the leading Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant where she first worked on Central and South Asia and then became correspondent in Afghanistan. There she built up expertise in investigative journalism and conducted extensive field research – including establishing a wide range of contacts with western and Afghan officials, tribal elders, NATO commanders and insurgent commanders. She wrote a book on Afghanistan that was shortlisted for a prestigious non-fiction award.

Since 2011, Deedee has published extensively on possible measures to promote demilitarization and improve security governance, based on field research, for the United States Institute of Peace and other leading think-tanks.

Starting in 2012, she served as senior policy adviser at Afghanistan Analysts Network, an international research organisation based in Kabul, where she published several articles on conflict dynamics and the political economy of disarmament and rearmament.

She worked in two positions for the UN from 2016 to 2018, first for the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task-Force and more recently for the Afghanistan Desk at the Department of Political Affairs.

Deedee completed her PhD in War Studies from King’s College London in 2017 writing her doctorate on the political economy of disarmament and rearmament in Afghanistan, was a visiting scholar at Columbia University from 2015 to 2017 and a doctoral fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, where she contributed to classes on engagement with non-state armed groups and international security. She is a regular commentator on television and radio, at conferences and in international institutions.

Regional Specialization

South Asia

Thematic Specialization

Demilitarization, Security Sector Reform and Reconciliation and Reintegration of non-state armed groups


English, French and Dutch

Selected Publications

  • ‘Options for Reintegrating Taliban Fighters in an Afghan Peace Process’, United States Institute of Peace, 29 April 2019.
  • ‘Hezb-e Islami, Peace and Reintegration into the Afghan Security Forces’, United States Institute of Peace, 2 July 2018.
  • ‘In Afghanistan, Today’s Pro-Government Militias Could be Tomorrow’s Insurgents’, War on the Rocks, 11 December 2017.
  • ‘Non-State Security Providers and Political Formation in Afghanistan’, Centre for Security Governance, March 2016.
  • ‘The Politics of Disarmament and Rearmament’, United States Institute of Peace, 20 May 2015.
  • ‘All The President’s Strongmen’, Foreign Policy, 8 December 2014.
  • ‘Reintegrating Armed Groups in Afghanistan’, United States Institute of Peace, 7 March 2014.
  • ‘Peace from the Bottom-Up? The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program’, Peace Research Institute Oslo, 29 September 2011.