Fall 2013 International Lecture Series #2


Riaz photoTopic: Islamist Politics in Afghanistan and Pakistan: How Will It Function After US Withdrawal?


Speaker: Dr. Ali Riaz, Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson

International Center for Scholars at Washington D.C.


Cost: $15 CIR Members; $20 Non-members & Guests

Location: Santa Fe Woman’s Club, 1616 Old Pecos Trail


The trajectory of Islamist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan after the ‘withdrawal’ of the US forces in late 2014 is contingent upon domestic developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan on the one hand and regional events and trends on the other.  Despite the ‘withdrawal’, a small number of US forces will remain in Afghanistan, and therefore the US ‘presence’ particularly the role the US forces play in supporting the Afghan government, will have a serious impact. This action will have an implication for the Islamists’ discourse both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghan Taliban’s current strategy appears to be waiting out the withdrawal and anticipating that the events will turn in their favor and their aim of reestablishing an Islamic Emirate will come to fruition. However, internal strife within the Islamists is not an unlikely scenario.  Moreover, the diminished role of the US and Western powers in Afghanistan has the potential to exacerbate the proxy war between India and Pakistan.

Ali Riaz is Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at Washington D.C.  He is also a professor in the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University. He previously taught at universities in Bangladesh, England and South Carolina. He also worked as a Broadcast Journalist at British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service in London.  Professor Riaz’s publications include, Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia (2008) and Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: A Complex Web (2008).

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