Aqil Shah

Visiting Scholar
South Asia Program
Aqil Shah is a visiting scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


PhD, Columbia University
MPhil, University of Oxford
B.A., Pakistan


English; Pashtu; Urdu


Aqil Shah is a visiting scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He also serves as the Wick Cary associate professor in the Department of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma. His research focuses on democratization, civil-military relations, U.S. foreign policy, and security issues with a regional focus on South Asia, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Aqil held research fellowships at the Harvard Society of Fellows; Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law; and the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has also been a visiting scholar at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi; the National Endowment for Democracy; and the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington, DC.

Previously, he was a policy advisor in the Asia-Pacific Governance Program of the United Nations Development Program, a senior analyst in the South Asia office of the International Crisis Group and a columnist in Pakistan.

Aqil is the author of The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan (Harvard University Press, 2014).

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks commemorating World AIDS Day at the White House
    December 6, 2021
    Global Views of Biden’s Democracy Summit

    As U.S. President Joe Biden convenes this week’s Summit for Democracy, governments around the world are gearing up to participate—or not. Here’s what some global players are looking for.

  • A Taliban fighter attends a rally in Kabul on August 31, 2021 as they celebrate after the US pulled all its troops out of the country to end a brutal 20-year war -- one that started and ended with the hardline Islamist in power. (Photo by Hoshang Hashimi / AFP) (Photo by HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images)
    Q&A August 31, 2021
    How Will the Taliban Deal With Other Islamic Extremist Groups?

    The Taliban are back in power in Afghanistan. How will they deal with the other Islamic extremist groups that have mushroomed in the region since the Taliban were last in charge?

  • Residents pass an Afghan flag flying on a hill top in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017.
    August 18, 2021 Русский
    Afghanistan Under the Taliban

    Experts from throughout Carnegie’s global network assess the stark humanitarian toll, the regional ramifications, and the diplomatic challenges posed by the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

  • Taliban fighters stand over a damaged police vehicle along the roadside in Kandahar on August 13, 2021
    Q&A August 13, 2021
    What Will Happen to Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Uneasy Border?

    Pakistan’s military leaders may see the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as a net win, but their cynical, realpolitik support for the Taliban is not risk-free.

  • Do U.S. Drone Strikes Cause Blowback? Evidence from Pakistan and Beyond
    International Security May 4, 2018
    Do U.S. Drone Strikes Cause Blowback? Evidence from Pakistan and Beyond

    New interview and survey data from Pakistan provide little or no evidence to support the claim that U.S. drone strikes generate blowback and contribute to the radicalization of local populations.

  • The Dog That Did Not Bark: The Army and the Emergency in India
    Commonwealth & Comparative Politics October 17, 2017
    The Dog That Did Not Bark: The Army and the Emergency in India

    The Indian military chose to stay out of politics when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency rule, despite numerous factors that might have facilitated an intervention.

  • Op-Ed Washington Post May 17, 2016
    Drone Blowback in Pakistan is a Myth. Here’s Why.

    Drone warfare in the Federally Administered Tribal Region of Pakistan has many problems. Blowback is not one of them. In fact, data show the opposite: Most respondents support drone strikes.

  • Current History April 1, 2016
    Democracy Deadlocked in Bangladesh

    The success of democracy in Bangladesh will depend on the political elites’ ability to abandon their zero-sum rivalry and demonstrate commitment to democratic norms in their attitudes and behavior.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Affairs March 30, 2016
    Life and Death in Lahore

    The Pakistani military must end its long history of using jihad as an instrument of national security as part of any successful strategy to tackle terrorism.


Areas of Expertise

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