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Pakistan’s Militants and the State

December 12, 2012 - 09:30-11:45

It is a common perception that the Pakistani security establishment avoids dismantling parts of the country’s militant infrastructure because the costs of maintaining proxies are outweighed by the geopolitical utility they provide, chiefly against India and in Afghanistan. This is accurate in so far as that utility remains the single greatest and most critical barrier to action against many of the militants located on Pakistan’s soil. However, this assessment is incomplete.

The bumper sticker “It’s all about India” may capture the single greatest explanation for Pakistan’s behavior, but the country’s security establishment also prioritizes maintaining the integrity of the Pakistani state. Understood through this prism, a purely India-centric explanation fails to capture the full spectrum of Pakistan’s compulsions or for the range of barriers to action against militancy. This talk aims to illuminate the myriad under-explored endogenous factors that militate against counterterrorism efforts specifically and a willingness to dismantle all of Pakistan’s militant groups more broadly as well as to assess the implications for Pakistan and the West post-2014.

Stephen Tankel is an Assistant Professor at American University and a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research focuses on political and security matters in South Asia, transnational security threats, particularly those related to non-state actors, and U.S. policy responses to these challenges. Professor Tankel has published widely on these issues and has conducted field research on conflicts and militancy in Algeria, Bangladesh, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the Balkans. His book Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba was published last summer by Columbia University Press.

Mona Kanwal Sheikh is a researcher at DIIS working on Pakistan. Her main area of expertise is militant movements in Pakistan, especially the movements related to the Pakistani Taliban. Her research focuses on the recruitment materials of the Pakistani Taliban and their justifications of violence.

More details about the seminar are available on our website.

Practical Information:
The seminar will be held in English. Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please use our online registration form no later than Tuesday, 11 December 2012 at 12.00 noon.
Please await confirmation by e-mail from DIIS for participation.
Location: Danish Institute for International Studies, Main Auditorium. Strandgade 71, ground floor, 1401 Copenhagen K

Pakistan’s Militants and the State


December 12, 2012