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I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Clemson University.  Prior to Fall 2022, I worked at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (2017-2022), where I was jointly appointed in the Dept. of Social Sciences, and the Combating Terrorism Center.

My research explores the multifaceted consequences of international security tools & counterterrorism strategies, examining their interlinkages with political violence, extremism, and the strategic dissemination of disinformation.  More specifically, my work explores how security policies, ranging from coercive diplomacy and partner capacity building to militant leadership decapitation shape the political beliefs and behaviors of state and violent non-state actors (VNSAs) globally, in target/partner countries in South/Central Asia, and in the American context.

In addition to advancing academic knowledge and research, I am committed to ensuring that my findings reach a wider audience, including policymakers and the general public. Alongside my academic publications, I have remained active in disseminating my work through policy briefs, public talks, and media engagements, in order to contribute to evidence-based policymaking and fostering public engagement.

Research Interests

The Islamic State in Afghanistan and Pakistan: Strategic Alliances and Rivalries  (Lynne Rienner, 2023)  Order here

ACADEMIC APPOINTMENTS

Clemson University, Clemson, SC (2022-)

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science 

  • Affiliate, Center for Criminal Justice & Social Research

United States Military Academy, West Point, NY (2017-2022)

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences 

  • Research Associate, Combating Terrorism Center  

George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Germany (2023-)

  • Adjunct Faculty

  • Terrorism & Security Studies for Counterterrorism Professionals 

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The Global and South/Central Asian Context

My work examines the survival strategies employed by VNSAs, exploring their inter-group alliances, rivalries, and recruitment strategies. Within this stream of research, I also explore how shifting security environments influence groups’ recruitment of women, and the latter’s incentives and opportunities to engage in political violence.  My work extends into examining the intersection of political violence, disinformation, and health security, shedding light on how these dynamics affect societies and governments.

Finally, a significant portion of my research is dedicated to understanding the evolution of Islamic State Khorasan within South and Central Asia, and its implications for regional/global security.

The American Context

The substantial costs and fatigue associated with prolonged U.S. engagements in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan have triggered divisions among American political elites, amidst rising threats of domestic violent extremism.

 

This has prompted a natural evolution in my research focus towards the American environment, where I explore the intersection of strategic disinformation, elite/societal polarization, and violent extremism. This includes a working book project that delves into the types of U.S. involvement that trigger anti-American sentiment and insurgent violence, and  a three-year interdisciplinary project sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Justice, which examines the linkages between domestic contentious political events, networks of false narratives and violent extremism. Related interests include exploring the intersection of American elite polarization and national security.

ADVISORY/EDITORIAL/​APPOINTMENTS 

01

European Journal of International Security, Cambridge University Press (2024-)

Associate Editor 

Non-Resident Fellow - South Asia Program

The Stimson Center (2022-)

02

Business Management Consultant   

Deloitte MCS, London, UK  (2006-2011)

03

OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

BOOKS

Read Now

"A groundbreaking, in-depth treatment of a militant group that has defied the odds to carve out a resilient position in South Asia.... This thoroughly researched and clearly written book is invaluable for anyone who wants to understand ISK and the threat that it poses."
----- Tricia Bacon, American University

Amira Jadoon with Andrew Mines. 2023.

"Jadoon and Mines are two of the best researchers on the Islamic State's franchise in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. Their first-rate book is the new authoritative source on ISK."
----- Craig Whiteside, US Naval War College

"An essential primer on ISK for US military personnel ….there is no other published work today with such a high level of insight into this enduring regional terrorist group"
----- Thomas F. Lynch III, National Defense University

The Islamic State  in Afghanistan & Pakistan

Strategic Alliances and Rivalries

Why Insurgent Groups Target Americans (Oxford University Press)

Forthcoming

PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES

While the efficacy of leadership decapitation (i.e., the killing or capturing of top leaders of militant groups) is much debated, one aspect that remains unexplored is whether the tactic contributes to “winning the hearts and minds” of civilian populations—a vital component of counterterrorism campaigns. Although state actors often publicize targeted killings of militant leaders as significant “wins,” this study explores how militant leadership decapitation affects civilians’ perceptions of government efficacy. We argue that decapitation efforts, which involve local security actors, are more likely to improve perceptions of local government efficacy, compared to efforts driven by external actors, while undermining perceptions of militants’ strength. We test our argument using data on leadership losses of Islamic State leaders in Afghanistan between 2015 and 2018 and public opinion survey data. 

Research on the efficacy of leadership decapitation has focused primarily on targeting the topmost leaders of groups. Yet, most organizations rely on multiple leaders with specific functional or geographical responsibilities, rather than a single symbolic leader. In this context, we pose the following question: how are the effects of leadership decapitation on a group’s short-term operational capacity conditioned by the type or rank of targeted leaders? We argue that due to the risks faced by militant organizations, upper-tier leaders will delegate operational duties to lower-tier leadership for security purposes. Because of the shift of the principal-agent dynamic to lower-tier leaders, targeting of lower ranked leaders versus topmost leaders is more likely to result in a loss of control over foot soldiers, and trigger negative effects such as a rise in indiscriminate violence.

A primary goal of arms embargoes is to mitigate the humanitarian effects of conflict within target states by restricting access to foreign weaponry. Within this study, we investigate how embargoed governments adapt their violent strategies in response to restrictions on arms imports. We theorize that arms embargoes that undermine governments’ military strength may inadvertently increase their reliance on civilian repression as an alternative approach to countering domestic threats. However, we expect that targeted governments’ ability to acquire weapons from non-participating or non-compliant suppliers will have a mitigating effect. A global examination of the effects of arms embargoes between 1989 and 2004 supports our argument and also suggests that both the levels of arms received and who supplies them matter.

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