South Asia

3 Items

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.