Sarah Chayes

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Sarah Chayes (1962-) first went to Afghanistan as a reporter for National Public Radio (NPR), covering the fall of the Taliban, but left journalism to work directly with the rebuilding of that country. She started a cooperative in Kandahar, once the center of the Taliban, producing skin-care products from local agricultural products, as an alternative to growing opium. This project was to assist in local decisionmaking, as was her becoming Field Director for Afghans for a Civil Society, founded by Qayum Karzai, President Hamid Karzai’s older brother.

She was a member of GEN Stanley McChrystal's Strategic Assessment Group, developing a new approach for the Obama administration. Earlier, she published her own "Comprehensive Action Plan for Afghanistan" [1]

Chayes has given orientations to Afghanistan to US and NATO officers, as well as lecturing at the [[Harvard University]] Kennedy School, the National Defense University, the School of Advanced Military Studies at the Command and General Staff College, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, Berkeley and Stanford Universities, and the Einstein Forum in Berlin.


She began her radio career in 1991 at Monitor Radio, free-lanced from Paris, and joined NPR in 1996. Her reporting on Kosovo was recognized with the 1999 Foreign Press Club and Sigma Delta Chi awards, together with other members of the NPR team. She reported from other conflicts including Algeria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Serbia and Bosnia.


  • Undergraduate degree History from Harvard University in 1984, earning the Radcliffe College History Prize
  • Peace Corps in Morocco
  • Master's degree in History and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, specializing in the medieval Islamic period.


  1. Sarah Chayes (January 2009), Comprehensive Action Plan for Afghanistan