Dr. Asfandyar Mir is a senior expert in the South Asia program at USIP. 
 
Dr. Mir’s research interests include the international relations of South Asia, U.S. counterterrorism policy and political violence — with a regional focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. 
 
Previously, Dr. Mir taught in the political science department and held various fellowships at the Center for International Security and Cooperation of Stanford University.

Dr. Mir has written extensively on the international relations of South Asia and U.S. counterterrorism policy. His analysis has been published by major media outlets and research institutions, such as the CTC Sentinel, Foreign Affairs, New York Times, Middle East Institute, War on the Rocks, Washington Post among others. Dr. Mir’s research has also appeared in leading peer-reviewed journals, such as International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Perspectives on Politics and Security Studies.

Dr. Mir received his doctorate in political science from the University of Chicago and a master’s and bachelor’s from Stanford University.

Publications By Asfandyar

Understanding Pakistan’s Election Results

Understanding Pakistan’s Election Results

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.;  Tamanna Salikuddin

Days after Pakistan’s February 8 general election, the Election Commission of Pakistan released the official results confirming a major political upset. Contrary to what most political pundits and observers had predicted, independents aligned with former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won the most seats at the national level, followed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). No party won an absolute majority needed to form a government on its own. The resultant uncertainty means the United States may have to contend with a government that is more focused on navigating internal politics and less so on addressing strategic challenges.

Type: Analysis

Global Elections & ConflictGlobal Policy

Making Sense of Iran-Pakistan Cross-Border Strikes

Making Sense of Iran-Pakistan Cross-Border Strikes

Friday, January 19, 2024

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.

In a surprising turn on January 16, Iran launched missile strikes into Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, claiming it had hit two strongholds of anti-Iran insurgent group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice). Iran announced the attack in Pakistan concurrent to its strikes in Iraq and Syria. Less than two days later, Pakistan hit back with not only missiles but also fighter jets in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province — claiming to target hideouts of anti-Pakistan ethno-nationalist insurgents operating from Iranian soil.

Type: Analysis

Conflict Analysis & PreventionGlobal PolicyViolent Extremism

In a Major Rift, Pakistan Ramps Up Pressure on the Taliban

In a Major Rift, Pakistan Ramps Up Pressure on the Taliban

Thursday, November 16, 2023

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.

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.

Type: Analysis

Global PolicyViolent Extremism

Two Years Under the Taliban: Is Afghanistan a Terrorist Safe Haven Once Again?

Two Years Under the Taliban: Is Afghanistan a Terrorist Safe Haven Once Again?

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.

Two years into Taliban rule, the question of whether Afghanistan would once again become a safe haven for international terrorism remains alive. Longstanding fears were affirmed a little over a year ago, when the U.S. government located al-Qaeda leader Aimen al-Zawahiri in Kabul, Afghanistan, before killing him in a drone strike. The fact that the Taliban would bring Zawahiri back to Kabul, despite repeated assurances to U.S. negotiators both before and after the Doha agreement that they had distanced themselves from al-Qaeda, significantly elevated concerns.

Type: Analysis

Violent Extremism

Pakistan’s Parliamentary Period Ends as Election Uncertainty Looms

Pakistan’s Parliamentary Period Ends as Election Uncertainty Looms

Thursday, August 10, 2023

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.

A five-year parliamentary term just concluded in Pakistan, marking the third such term since the country's 2008 transition from military rule. These past five years were marred by domestic political tumult and an outsized — at times decisive — military role in politics. During this period, Pakistan witnessed two ruling coalitions with different prime ministers: the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and allied parties from August 2018 to April 2022, followed by the Shehbaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and allies from April 2022 until this week. Top political leaders also faced legal issues — most recently, Khan was convicted for illegally selling state gifts and disqualified from contesting the election.

Type: Analysis

Civilian-Military RelationsDemocracy & Governance

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