Extremist movements — such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Shabab — fuel, and often stem from, instability and violent conflict and present a complex challenge. The U.S. Institute of Peace works to understand the underlying causes of violent extremism and helps develop localized and viable solutions by providing research, training and expertise to practitioners and policymakers. From examining the critical role of women in combating violent extremism in Afghanistan to exploring the dynamics of radicalization in Kosovo, USIP seeks to reduce this ever-shifting threat.
President Trump’s upcoming summit with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz rounds out his meetings with the five most powerful friendly leaders in the region. The first four in Washington with the heads of state from Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Israel all produced common themes: the campaign against ISIS and terrorism, the challenge of Iran, the turmoil of collapsing states in Syria and Yemen. But in the immediate background is the Israeli-Palestinian peace process which the president has said is a top priority for his administration.
Afghanistan’s Taliban, determined to capture a major city in the country, have advanced on Kunduz, in the northeast. The Taliban oppose any public role for women in Afghan society and have targeted women’s organizations in Kunduz. But a local journalist and mother, Sediqa Sherzai, for years has run Radio Roshani, a station that broadcasts programs for women’s rights and democracy.
Across South Asia, complex strains of extremism are opening the way for the Islamic State and destabilizing governments. From elements in the Afghan Taliban to the ascent of Hindu nationalism in India, extremists are drawing the region deeper into volatile internal and external conflicts, according to experts on religion and extremism speaking recently at the U.S. Institute of Peace. There are no quick ways to reverse the trend, they said. But steps that could slow radicalization include bolstering free speech, attacking terrorists’ financial networks and undermining the myth that a long-ago caliphate ruled over a perfect society.