IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Violent extremism and the political economy of education in Afghanistan

08 November 2018, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Afghan women voice concerns

As global attention is concentrated on Islamic State (IS) activities in Syria and Iraq, IS fighters seem to be exploiting the conditions of state fragility in Afghanistan to expand their influence in several districts.

Event Information

Open to







Room 642
20 Bedford Way
United Kingdom

It has been reported that IS has a significant dominance in 11 out of 24 districts in the eastern province of Nangarhar, where they control all aspects of community life. Drawing upon qualitative interviews and focus group discussions in Kabul and Nagarhar, this seminar explores the multitude of ways IS controls educational processes in Afghanistan.

Both state and non-state actors compete for control over education, in both formal institutions as well as social and cultural discourses about learning. Unlike Taliban who have the nationalist agenda against Western interventions (of all kinds, including education), the IS approach to radicalisation seems to be much more strategic, ideologically broad and aimed at long term political gains in the form of a 'Caliphate'. Through brutal tactics, IS fighters influence access, contents and pedagogies to establish their Jihadist ideology.

Research finds that rural communities in Afghanistan play a critical role in shaping the political terrain such as establishing conditions under which state sovereignty is contested, negotiated and challenged. As such, they serve a dual purpose: strengthening state authority by sustaining public services including education and creating a space for non-state actors to promote alternative ideologies.

Understanding the latter can contribute to critical reflection of the existing education policies and reclaim educational spaces for Afghanistan's peaceful future.

The session will be live-streamed and made available after the event.


This event is open and free for all to attend, however, registration is required.



  • Dvidshub via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

About the Speaker

Dr Tejendra Pherali

at UCL Institute of Education

Dr Pherali's research, teaching and consultancy focus mainly on interactions between education and conflict and post-conflict peacebuilding in fragile environments. He is broadly interested in critical debates on international development with a particular focus on education in emergencies, post-conflict educational reforms, the role of education in peacebuilding, political movements and social change, political economy of education and critical pedagogies. 

More about Dr Tejendra Pherali