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Samina Ahmed

Project Director, South Asia and Senior Asia Adviser
Islamabad, Pakistan

Crisis Group Role

Samina Ahmed oversees Crisis Group’s work in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Together with our analysts throughout the region, she prepares reports on the political, social, economic and military factors that increase the risks of extremism, internal conflict and war, and she makes policy recommendations to overcome these threats. In general, her team focuses on political, security and stability issues in South Asia, including problems of authoritarianism; Islamic extremism, domestic and regional terrorism; educational, judicial, and security sector reform; international involvement and intervention in the region, including U.S. relations with authoritarian states; and domestic insurgencies and the risk of inter-state conflict. She also frequently briefs representatives of foreign ministries and international organisations, and is regularly involved in advocacy efforts internationally.

Areas of Expertise

  • South Asian affairs  
  • Democratic transitions in authoritarian states
  • Ethnic and religious conflict
  • Nuclear proliferation

Professional Background

  • Research Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (1999-2001)
  • Senior Research Analyst, Institute of Regional Studies (1990-1997)
  • Doctor of philosophy in Political Science, Australian National University (1990)


  • Urdu (native)
  • English (fluent)

Latest Updates

Q&A / Asia

Imran Khan’s Fall: Political and Security Implications for Pakistan

Imran Khan has become the first Pakistani prime minister to lose office through a parliamentary no-confidence vote. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Samina Ahmed explains that his ouster occurred by constitutional means, but his challenge to the new government’s legitimacy could lead to violence.

Commentary / Asia

With the Taliban Back in Kabul, Regional Powers Watch and Wait

The Taliban’s return to power raises questions not only about how the movement will use its newfound authority but also about what Afghanistan’s neighbours will do in response. Crisis Group experts offer a 360-degree view of these countries’ initial reactions and what is behind them.

Our Journeys / Asia

Bridging Pakistan’s Gender Divide

Embarking on field research into Pakistan’s chronic crises sixteen years ago, our South Asia Project Director Samina Ahmed was a woman in a man’s world. But her experiences persuade her that understanding conflict requires rigorously incorporating the perspectives of women and girls whose opportunities are frequently inhibited by violence.

Op-Ed / Asia

Update on Pakistan's Polio War: Some Ground Gained but Victory Not Yet in Sight

As the world marks Polio Day today, Pakistan remains the greatest impediment to a polio-free world.

Originally published in Lowy Interpreter