Religion and Militancy in Pakistan and Afghanistan
June 29, 2012
The importance of studying the rise of Islamic radicalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot be overemphasized. Both countries have experienced serious threats from radical Islamic groups, and the ideological and strategic nature of radical Islam in the region has changed over the years. This report presents the results of a comprehensive review of the English-language literature on militant Islamic movements in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Islamic radical groups, often viewed as monolithic, are in reality far from homogeneous in outlook, religious beliefs, or the strategies and tactics they use to achieve their goals. Clearly, no mere classification of these groups in the form of typologies that attempt to capture their ideological diversity or the development of their networks will be particularly useful in determining how the U.S. government and other nations ought to engage with them. This review thus focuses on the diversity of religious beliefs held by non-state armed groups (militants) and the relationship between those beliefs and their overall objectives and activities.