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University of Iowa News Release

April 21, 2006

War On Terror In Afghanistan Discussed At May 1 Lecture

M. Nazif Shahrani, professor of anthropology and Central Eurasian studies at Indiana University, has just returned from Afghanistan and will address the controversial question of the "War on Terror and Spreading Democracy/Hypocrisy in Afghanistan?" at 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 1 in the Schaeffer Hall Commons, Room 302, on the University of Iowa campus.

During his lecture, Shahrani will speak about the Bush administration's war on terror in Afghanistan, its costs to the United States and to the people of Afghanistan, and its prospects for bringing democracy to that country and the region.

Since the ouster of the Taliban from power in 2001, Shahrani has regularly visited Afghanistan, most recently in March 2006. He has published widely and is currently working on a book entitled "Post-Taliban Afghanistan: The Challenges of State-Building, Governance and Security."

Shahrani, born, raised and educated partly in Afghanistan, completed his bachelor of arts degree at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, and master's and doctorate degrees in anthropology from the University of Washington, Seattle. Currently he is professor of anthropology, Central Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.

He has served as chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures & director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program (2001-2004), and director of Middle Eastern Studies Program (1991-1994) at Indiana University. Shahrani has held post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard and Stanford Universities and at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.. He has conducted extensive ethnographic field research in Afghanistan, and studied Afghan refugee communities in Pakistan and Turkey in the 1980s. Since 1992, he has carried out field research in post-Soviet Muslim republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. For more information check

"With Iraq dominating the news today, we sometimes forget that U.S. troops continue to suffer casualties in Afghanistan. Afghan civilian casualties are also high. We need to periodically assess the progress being made toward establishing a secure, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan," said Vicki Hesli, professor of political science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Hesli is helping to facilitate the development of a broader set of course offerings on the Muslim World, the Middle East and the Arabic language.

She adds, "Professor Shahrani has information and analysis that will contribute to a measured and careful assessment of movement being made toward achieving these goals."

Shahrani's lecture is part of a series of events sponsored by UI International Programs this academic year that examine Islamic, Middle Eastern and Arabic issues. A new emphasis area has been added to the International Studies major, which is titled Middle East and Muslim World Studies.

UI International Programs consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this event, contact Leslie Aktan, International Programs, at 319-335-3862 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, ; Program: Leslie Aktan, 319-335-3862,; Writer: Kelli Andresen