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

A Negotiated End to the Afghan Conflict

A Negotiated End to the Afghan Conflict

Monday, June 18, 2018

By: Borhan Osman

Despite widespread recognition that the only way toward ending the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is a negotiated settlement, understanding of the Taliban’s thinking on the subject is remarkably scant. This report attempts to fill this gap by drawing on face-to-face interviews with Taliban foot soldiers, field commanders, and supporters to better understand the movement’s views on why they are fighting, what issues are negotiable, whether they have faith in negotiation as a way to peace, and what a peace process might look like.

Violent Extremism; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Iran and Afghanistan’s Long, Complicated History

Iran and Afghanistan’s Long, Complicated History

Thursday, June 14, 2018

By: Scott Worden; USIP Staff

As neighbors with a 585-mile frontier, Iran and Afghanistan have connections spanning centuries. Since 1979—the year of Iran’s revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—relations between Tehran and Kabul have ebbed and flowed. USIP’s Scott Worden discusses the complex relationship between the two countries, how Iran has built influence there, and where the U.S. and Iranian interests have overlapped in relation to Kabul.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications