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.
Learn more in our fact sheet on USIP’s Work on Violent Extremism.
On November 8, in an unprecedented press conference, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul-Haq Kakar offered a blistering critique of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. He announced that the Taliban leadership was supporting the anti-Pakistan insurgency of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and that had contributed to a major increase in violence in Pakistan — leading to 2,867 Pakistani fatalities since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021.
On November 17, USIP will launch the Rehabilitation and (Re)integration through Individual, Social and Structural Engagement (RISE) Action Guide. The guide provides a peacebuilding framework to help local stakeholders, policymakers and program funders and implementers support people who are disengaging from extremist violence to reintegrate and reconcile with their local communities. RISE is also focused on supporting the recovery and well-being of affected people and communities.
Rising violence this year threatens to deepen instability in India’s far northeastern region. Ominously, the bloodshed centered in India’s state of Manipur includes elements that were visible in early stages of the 20-year-old conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region. Darfur’s violence has killed or displaced millions of people and helped lead to this year’s civil war across Sudan. Tragically, both countries have seen these disparate conflicts intensify through widened opportunities for ill-governed ethnic militias and for hate speech. These evolutions have hardened local conflicts over land or water into more extreme, venomous warfare between ethnic or religious communities. Darfur’s example underscores the urgent need for responses in Manipur.
In May 2021, USIP created the Bipartisan Senior Study Group for the Sahel comprised of 12 current and former high-level U.S. officials, renowned academics and prominent Africa experts. The senior study group aims to generate new insights into the complex challenges facing the Sahel region, including food security, human rights, security assistance, private sector development and job creation — as well as great power competition. The senior study group will provide original recommendations to the U.S. government and governments in the Sahel region to improve foreign assistance, resolve conflict and support lasting peace.
In support of the Evidence Act and as part of the U.S. national security architecture, USIP is carrying out its own learning agenda. Peacebuilding has long been viewed as too messy and complex for evidence-based approaches — but USIP’s mix of research and practice belies that assumption.
Violent Extremist Disengagement and Reconciliation (VEDR) is the peacebuilding contribution to disengagement from violent extremism and reconciliation with local communities. It de-exceptionalizes violent extremism from other challenges that result from similar sets of risk factors and social environments by emphasizing peacebuilding and public health.