Dr. Ali Riaz, Illinois State University

September 15, 2013 (Sun) 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
UNM Continuing Education Auditorium
1634 University Blvd. NE (at the intersection with Indian School Rd.)

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 a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at Washington DC. He is on a leave from Illinois State University where he is a Professor and Chair of Department of Politics and Government. 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). His recently edited volumes are Religion and Politics in South Asia (2010) and Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh (2010). He is the editor of bi-annual journal Studies on Asia.

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