South Asia

20 Items

Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James G. Stavridis, General David H. Petraeus (new Commander of ISAF) and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during a news conference at NATO Headquarters, July 1, 2010.

DoD Photo

Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

NATO in Afghanistan: Turning Retreat into Victory

| December 2013

NATO after Afghanistan is an organization that suffers from a certain fatigue pertaining to future stabilization challenges. NATO will not automatically cease to conduct operations after 2014, but the level of ambition will be lower. The Afghanistan experience and the failures of the light footprint approach calls for a thinking that is less liberalist "in the abstract" and more focused on provision of basic services (security, development, and governance).

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, center, speaks during the opening session of a high-level meeting on countering nuclear terrorism, Sept. 28, 2012 in the General Assembly at UN headquarters.

AP Photo/ Mary Altaffer

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

States Will Not Give Nuclear Weapons to Terrorists

    Authors:
  • Keir A. Lieber
  • Daryl Press
| September 2013

Assessing the risk of nuclear attack-by-proxy turns on the question of whether a state could sponsor nuclear terrorism and remain anonymous. A leader could rationalize such an attack—and entrust terrorists with a vitally important mission—only if doing so allowed the sponsor to avoid retaliation. After all, if a leader did not care about retaliation, he or she would likely conduct a nuclear strike directly. Giving nuclear weapons to terrorists makes sense only if there is a high likelihood of remaining anonymous after the attack.

Mujahedeen rebels, holy warriors, are shown as they rest high in the mountains in the Kunar province area in Afghanistan in May 1980.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Foreign Fighter Phenomenon: Islam and Transnational Militancy

| February 2011

"...[F]oreign fighter mobilizations empower transnational terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, because war volunteering is the principal stepping-stone for individual involvement in more extreme forms of militancy. For example, when Muslims in the West radicalize, they usually do not plot attacks in their home countries right away, but travel to a war zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan first. A majority of al-Qaida operatives began their militant careers as war volunteers, and most transnational jihadi groups today are by-products of foreign fighter mobilizations."

An Indonesian Muslim woman reads a newspaper bearing the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on its cover in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 21, 2009.

AP Photo

Testimony

Restoring America's Reputation in the World and Why It Matters

| March 4, 2010

"...[M]ilitary analysts trying to understand counter-insurgency have rediscovered the importance of struggles over soft power. In the words of General David Patreus, "we did reaffirm in Iraq the recognition that you don't kill or capture your way out of an industrial-strength insurgency." More recently he warned against expedient measures that damage our reputation. "We end us paying a price for it ultimately. Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are non-biodegradable. They don't go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick."  In Afghanistan, the Taliban have embarked on a sophisticated information war, using modern media tools as well as some old-fashioned one, to soften their image and win favor with local Afghans as they try to counter the Americans' new campaign to win Afghan hearts and minds.

A seller removes election poster of Pakistan's Islamist candidate from his stand in Peshawar, Pakistan. Fed up with violence and broken promises, voters in the deeply conservative northwest have thrown out the Islamist parties..."

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Why Pakistanis Support Islamist Militancy

    Authors:
  • Jacob N. Shapiro
  • C. Christine Fair
| Feb. 10, 2010

The geopolitical reasons for the Pakistani state to tolerate militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba are well known. Yet there is precious little evidence about why average Pakistanis tolerate and even support groups that do so much to harm their nation's interests and reputation, as well as the safety of their fellow citizens. Because militant groups cannot survive without some popular backing, understanding why Pakistanis support them is a significant national security challenge for Pakistan, the United States, and the international community.

A girl stands near armoured vehicles left by the Soviet Army near the Afghan village of Shahrak on Sept. 24, 2001. The land is inhabited by war-scarred people who expressed hope that the current U.S. assault would finish off the Taliban and bring peace.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Afghans on the Taliban

    Author:
  • Sabrina Roshan
| November 2009

By and large, the people of Afghanistan are driven by a desire for administration and order - not by money or supreme ideology. Despite its oppressive tactics, the Taliban regime has managed to seize power and sustain it by filling a vacuum of social instability. Wardak province, which lies just three hours outside of Kabul, is a major Taliban stronghold in central Afghanistan today. The Taliban's seizure of power in Wardak serves as a microcosm of the social and political dynamics at play in the entire country. If left unchecked, more and more parts of Afghanistan risk failing into the hands of these non-governmental, rebel powers.

Sniper James Sudlow of 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards trains his scope on the Nawar region of Helmand province, Afghanistan, to help locate enemy forces in a fire fight between the Taliban and the Afghan National Army, Dec. 18, 2008.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - UK National Defence Association

The Next Government Must Fund Britain's Armed Forces to Match the Many and Growing Threats to National Security

| September 2009

"The choice facing the next Prime Minister and government is clear. On the one hand, he can continue the policy of the present Government. This will result in a slow slide down the second division of nations, an inability to defend the sea passages on which our global trade and standard of living depend (ninety per cent of our trade still comes by sea), an inability to secure our growing imported energy supplies and the vital food supplies which we in this country take for granted.

Or, the next Government can resist this decline, hold firm against the pressure to reduce defence funding, and provide an adequate defence provision with contingency reserve capability for all three Services. If this decision is made, it should be done as a deliberate and well researched policy."

A model of Pakistani made surface-to-surface missile Shaheen, capable of carrying nuclear warhead, is on display in Lahore, Saturday, May. 22, 1999.

AP Image

Testimony

Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Securing Pakistani Nuclear Weapons

| July 7, 2009

"The problem is not the quality of Pakistan's nuclear security efforts. The problem is that the standard for success is so unforgiving. In a world in which terrorists are actively seeking weapons of mass destruction, there can be no breakdown in security that enables terrorists to obtain a nuclear bomb."

Thomas Hegghammer, a joint ISP/RIIA research fellow, discusses the origins of global jihad at an ISP brownbag seminar.

Belfer Center

Policy Brief

The Origins of Global Jihad: Explaining the Arab Mobilization to 1980s Afghanistan

| January 22, 2009

The Arab involvement in Afghanistan was the result of two main factors: the entrepreneurship of the Palestinian preacher Abdallah Azzam, and the rise of a "soft pan-Islamism" promoted since the mid-1970s by non-violent international Islamic organizations such as the Muslim World League.

This policy memo is based on Thomas Hegghammer's ISP brownbag seminar presentation.