Jihadi Groups, Nuclear Pakistan, and the New Great Game

  • August 01, 2001
  • Dr M Ehsan Ahrari

For the United States and other nations concerned with security in South and Central Asia, one of the most ominous trends has been the growing influence of Jihadist groups in Pakistan which feel obligated to wage holy war against everything that they perceive as non-Islamic. Their objective would be a Pakistani government similar to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The danger this would pose to regional stability and U.S. interests is clear. The author assesses Jihadi groups from the framework of a new "Great Game" for influence in Central Asia involving an array of states. He argues that, if this competition leads to increased violence, outside states including the United States could be drawn in. On the other hand, if the region stabilizes, it could provide solid economic and political partners for the United States. A well-designed American strategy, Ahrari contends, might help avoid crises or catastrophe.