South Asia

17 Items

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.

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.

Traders from Pakistani Kashmir wave after crossing onto the Indian side of Kashmir's de facto border, the Line of Control (LoC), Oct. 9, 2008. A delegation of traders from Pakistani Kashmir arrived in Indian Kashmir to hold talks on cross-LoC trade.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Slow but Steady on Kashmir

| January 2009

Instead of special envoys and summits, the U.S. should adopt a "quiet diplomacy" approach that offers incentives to India and Pakistan for making tangible, if small, progress on the ground in Kashmir. The U.S. should offer to help fund sustained local policy initiatives in both Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir aimed at improving governance and encouraging economic exchange and the movement of people across the Line of Control. An initiative focused on local government and civil society lacks the drama of shuttle diplomacy and grand bargains, but can actually improve the daily lives of Kashmiris while giving them more say over their own governance.