South Asia

4 Items

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 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.

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.