From the Taliban in Afghanistan to Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka to ISIS throughout the region, South Asia faces one of the most diverse and dangerous landscapes of extremist ideologies and groups. On April 24, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Center for Global Policy convened experts to discuss emerging trends in extremism across the region, how it impacts states internally and how those governments and the United States should respond.

In Afghanistan, a complex array of Islamist insurgents, including the Taliban, has prompted Russia, China, Iran and the Central Asian states to involve themselves to an unprecedented degree. Extremist groups in Pakistan and realignments in the militant landscape around Kashmir have created new challenges for India and other regional powers. ISIS has taken advantage of violent conflicts in South Asia, attracting fighters to further destabilize the region. Meanwhile, rising Hindu nationalism and Hindutva politics stand to further inflame divisiveness in India, while Buddhist and other extremist groups continue to escalate conflicts in Sri Lanka and Burma.

The panel discussed how these trends affect bilateral relations within South Asia, as well as U.S. options for re-engaging on these issues and developing new ways to counter these threats to regional peace and stability.

A recording of the event can be found on this event page.

Speakers

Farid Senzai, Introduction
Founder and President, Center for Global Policy

Ali Mohammad Ali
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Policy

Kamran Bokhari
Director for Political Affairs, Center for Global Policy

Susan Hayward
Senior Advisor, Religion & Inclusive Societies, U.S. Institute of Peace

Iman Malik
Consultant, The World Bank Group

Scott Worden, Moderator
Director, Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

cgp logo
A man bicycles on May 7th, 2006, past Tamil-owned stores that were set ablaze by a Sinhalese mob in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. April was the bloodiest month since the government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam signed a cease-fire in February 2002 that was supposed to end nearly two decades of killing here.
Photo Courtesy of the New York Times/Scott Eells

Related Publications

Legislature and Legislative Elections in Afghanistan: An Analysis

Legislature and Legislative Elections in Afghanistan: An Analysis

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

By: A. Farid Tookhy

Afghanistan’s newest Wolesi Jirga—the lower house of the National Assembly—boasts a younger and more educated membership than those elected in either 2005 or 2010. Its representativeness, however, is uneven and problematic. This report offers a comparative profile of the Wolesi Jirgas elected in 2005, 2010, and 2018, highlighting issues salient to the reforms Afghanistan needs to undertake if it is to hold credible national elections that yield truly representative elected institutions.

Type: Special Report

Democracy & Governance

U.S., Russian interests overlap in Afghanistan. So, why offer bounties to the Taliban?

U.S., Russian interests overlap in Afghanistan. So, why offer bounties to the Taliban?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

By: Andrew Wilder

Recent intelligence reports indicating that Russian bounties paid to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops have bolstered American and Afghan officials long-held allegations that Moscow has been engaged in clandestine operations to undermine the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Russia’s support for the Taliban, however, has largely been tactical in nature. Both Washington and Moscow ultimately have a converging strategic interest in a relatively stable Afghanistan without a long-term U.S. presence that will not be a haven for transnational terrorists. USIP’s Andrew Wilder looks at what this means for the decades-long Afghan conflict.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

Negotiations Are the Only Way to End Afghan Conflict, Says Abdullah

Negotiations Are the Only Way to End Afghan Conflict, Says Abdullah

Thursday, June 25, 2020

By: Adam Gallagher

The head of Afghanistan’s new peace council said yesterday that he is optimistic that intra-Afghan talks can start in the coming weeks, but increased levels of violence and details of prisoner releases may slow the start of talks. Chairman Abdullah added that the government’s negotiating team will be inclusive and represent common values in talks with the Taliban. The team “will be diverse and represent all walks of life,” Abdullah said. Afghans and analysts have expressed concern that without an inclusive negotiating team, the country’s hard-won, democratic gains could be compromised for the sake of a deal with the Taliban.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance; Peace Processes

View All Publications