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September 15, 2021

Afghanistan
The Taliban in Afghanistan

The Taliban have returned to power in Afghanistan twenty years after their ouster by U.S. troops, sparking concerns that they will impose harsh rule, neglect to provide basic services, and abuse huma…

A Taliban fighter holds a gun and walks past a beauty salon with images of women painted over.

September 15, 2021

Somalia
Somalia’s Ongoing Political Crisis Exposes Fundamental Problem for U.S. Policy

The fragile Somali government is on the brink again, consumed by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (also known as Farmaajo) and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble’s tussle for control of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA)—a power struggle sharpened by the murder of Ikran Tahlil. Tahlil, who worked for NISA, disappeared this summer.

Protesters hold up a sign with a red "X" drawn across a picture of the Somali president.

September 13, 2021

9/11
Town Hall: Reflections on 9/11 and Its Legacy

A town hall discussion featuring CFR board members who served in various capacities in the George W. Bush administration. Speakers reflect on the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the impact on U.S. foreign…

Play A visitor traces the date etched in a marble slab on the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial before the 15th Anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, September 11, 2016 in Shanksville, PA. United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field outside Shanksville, PA with 40 passengers and 4 hijackers aboard on September 11, 2001.

September 9, 2021

Middle East and North Africa
The Role of Egyptians in the 9/11 Attacks Still Reverberates Today

Members of Egypt’s jihadi movement played important roles in inspiring and plotting the 9/11 attacks. Egypt still struggles with some of the factors that gave rise to such extremism.

August 17, 2021

Palestinian Territories
What Is Hamas?

The Palestinian armed group has struggled to govern Gaza. Yet, it remains committed to resisting Israel and shows little desire to reconcile with Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.

Gun-toting Hamas militants ride a vehicle amid a massive crowd of the group's supporters

August 13, 2021

Wars and Conflict
Five Foreign-Policy Movies Worth Watching About Real-Life Heroism

Every summer Friday, we suggest foreign-policy-themed movies worth watching. This week: films inspired by actual heroes. 

Three movie posters: "Black Hawk Down" (man sits with a gun); "Gary Cooper Sergeant York" (man in helmet crouches with a gun); "Beneath Hill 60" (a woman and two men look out above the photo of a group of men in mining gear).

August 10, 2021

Terrorism and Counterterrorism
United States Names Five African Jihadis as Specially Designated Global Terrorists

U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday announced that the Department of State added to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) five terrorist leaders operating in Africa.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, with a world map and a U.S. flag behind him, walks away after giving an address.

August 3, 2021

Middle East and North Africa
Modern Sunni-Shia Tensions

Iran’s Islamic revolution, which brought Shias to power in 1979, and the Sunni backlash have fueled a competition for regional dominance. This timeline highlights Sunni-Shia tensions in recent decade…

July 21, 2021

Nigeria
Jihadis Claim to be Uniting in Northeast Nigeria

Boko Haram, the jihadi insurrection associated with some 350,000 deaths since 2009 in northeast Nigeria, was characterized by factions—conflict among which was bloody—though at times they appear to have cooperated tactically. Now, the faction associated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), is claiming to have incorporated the followers of the rival faction led by Abubakar Shekau. (Weeks ago, Shekau died, apparently after committing suicide in a standoff with ISWA.)

A wall that has "Hate Evil" and "Boko Haram is Evil" scrawled on it.

May 24, 2021

Nigeria
Nigerian Terrorist Abubakar Shekau: Dead or Alive—and Does it Matter?

Multiple Nigerian media outlets reported last week that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has died or been mortally wounded in a confrontation with fighters from the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), a group that separated from Shekau’s Boko Haram in 2016. The Nigerian government has not confirmed the reports and is investigating. The caution is well-placed: Shekau has been reported dead at least four times since he became the leader of Boko Haram in 2009 following the police killing of founder Mohammed Yusuf.

Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, stands in front of a brick wall holding a heavy machine gun.