Ahmad K. Majidyar studies political and security affairs in South Asia and the Middle East, with a special focus on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. He also travels frequently to military bases across the United States to instruct senior U.S. Army and Marine officers about culture, religion, and domestic politics in Afghanistan, and about terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before joining AEI in 2008, Mr. Majidyar worked as a media analyst with BBC Monitoring in Kabul, and served as an aid worker with the United Nations agency for refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan. He is fluent in Dari (Persian), Pashto, and Urdu.
While the peaceful and democratic transfer of power marks a milestone in Afghanistan’s tumultuous history, the country faces mounting security and governance challenges as international support is diminishing. To ensure long-term stability, the following five priorities should top the new government’s agenda.
AEI resident scholar Michael Rubin and senior research associate Ahmad Majidyar have released a booklet highlighting the diversity of Shi’ite communities in the Middle East, the political and diplomatic issues unique to each one, and efforts by each to resist Iranian political and religious domination.
Please join analysts from the United States and across the Middle East to discuss Shi‘ite strategies to preserve communal independence and how the United States can successfully work with Shi‘ite communities outside Iran.
In Pakistan, anti-Shi'ite violence is unremitting and risks destabilizing the country and engulfing the surrounding region. Pakistani political and military leadership must develop a comprehensive plan that includes reforming the country's education system, promoting interfaith harmony, and curbing foreign funding for extremist groups.
The past 36 years of conflict in Afghanistan provide valuable lessons about the advantages and the perils of negotiating with insurgents. Pursuing negotiation with the Taliban as an exit strategy is both unrealistic and dangerous.
Escalating Shi’ite-Sunni conflict in the Persian Gulf in the wake of the Arab Spring threatens sectarian stability in the UAE, Qatar, and Oman. The United States must take a more active role in shaping Omani, Qatari, and Emirati Shi’ites’ perceptions of their governments and the West.
If government repression and discrimination push Saudi Arabia's Shi'ites to extremes, some may resort to violence and terrorism, with grave worldwide consequences. The United States must work with the Saudi government to achieve gradual but meaningful reforms that include integrating the Shi'ites into the Kingdom's sociopolitical system.