ISIS: Assessment of Threat for Afghanistan, Pakistan and South and Central Asia

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Abstract

The near-complete state breakdown in Iraq and Syria explains the meteoric rise of ISIS in a short span of time. It grew so strong that it was able to occupy territories in these two Middle Eastern states by defeating their national armies. The successes of ISIS made it a magnet for other militant groups throughout the Muslim world and among the Muslims in Europe, many of whom have travelled to Syria to join ISIS. The transnational agenda of ISIS and its growing appeal among Muslim radicals have raised fears about its expansion into other regions. Such fears have been expressed by media, national governments and by international players. However, it seems that in most of other regions, where the fears of ISIS’ expansion are being raised, state is strong enough to deal with any challenge posed by ISIS. The militant organisation is unlikely to strike roots in these countries, except in Afghanistan where high degree of state fragility makes the threat of ISIS’ expansion relatively more genuine. However, poor governance and lack of equitable economic growth and political space in some countries mean that they will remain vulnerable to radicalisation, which could create instability in these countries. Tackling these challenges should be the part of broader efforts against ISIS or any other radical organisation.

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