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Stephen Tankel

Assistant Professor
School of International Service

  • Additional Positions at AU

    Non-resident Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Stephen Tankel is an assistant professor in the School of International Service at American University and a non-resident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Professor Tankel specializes in international security with a focus on political and military affairs in South Asia, transnational threats, Islamist militancy, and U.S. foreign and defense policies related to these issues. He has published widely on these topics and conducted field research on conflicts and militancy in Algeria, Bangladesh, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the Balkans. Columbia University Press published his first book, Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba, in summer 2011, and will publish his next one in 2015. Provisionally titled The Jihadist and the State, Professor Tankel’s second book explores the role of local states in, and the implications of jihadist-state dynamics for, U.S. counterterrorism efforts. In addition to his writing, Professor Tankel is on the editorial board of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism and is a senior editor of the web magazine War on the Rocks. He is frequently asked to advice U.S. policymakers and practitioners on a range of security issues, and spent 2014 serving as a senior advisor in the Office of Asian and Pacific Security Affairs at the Department of Defense.
  • Degrees

    BS, Cornell University
    MSc, London School of Economic
    PhD, War Studies, King's College London

  • SIS - School of International Service
  • SIS

  • (202) 885-2369
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  • To request an interview for a
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    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


  • Fall 2015

    • SIS-653 Topics in U.S. Foreign Policy: Countering Terrorism
    • Description
  • Spring 2016

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Media Appearances

Interviewed for a CNN.com article regarding Obama's speech and visit to Kabul.  In this article he addresses the thorny issue of negotiating with the Taliban. Read full story here.

Quoted in “Pakistan: A Militant Most Wanted” Financial Times. May 1, 2012. Read the article here.

Featured in an interview with the Washington Post “Pakistani militant Hafiz Mohammad Saed seeks protection from bounty hunters.” April 22, 2012. Read the full article here.

Featured on a panel discussing the state of Al Qaeda. See video of the discussion here.

Quoted in WNYC article “Gillibrand, Vets Seek Faster Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan.” March 26, 2012. Read full text of article here.

Featured in an interview with WNYC about the U.S. presence if Afghanistan. Listen to full audio here.

Quoted in  “Hearing in Congress on Baluchistan: Crossing the Rubicon or Political Theatre?” February 8, 2012. Read the full article here.

AU News and Achievements