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The events of 11 September 2001 changed the world forever, inciting a series of major international military interventions by the United States and allies, that would become known as the ‘War on Terror’. Twenty years on and following the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) will be convening an online panel to reflect on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, take stock of the situation in Afghanistan and look ahead to current and future developments, drawing on the Institute’s cutting edge research on terrorism and counter-terrorism.

This event is part of the War Studies at 60 Seminar Series, a series of events exploring key issues in security and defence as part of the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the Department of War Studies.


  • Chair: Dr Shiraz Maher - Director of the ICSR
  • Professor Lord (Jonathan) Evans, former Director-General of MI5
  • Dr Aleksandra Dier, United Nation’s Women’s Regional Advisor on Peace and Security in the Middle East and North Africa and formerly Gender Coordinator at the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED).
  • Muska Dastageer, Lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF)

This panel will take place on 22 September 2021 at 18:30 BST on Zoom. Please register via this Zoom link

Speaker bios

Muska Dastageer

Muska Dastageer is a political scientist specialising in peace and political theory. She is a Lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is also an Expert Advisor on the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Dialogues on Afghanistan.

She holds two MSc degrees from the University of Oxford and the University of Copenhagen. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at the New School for Social Research (NSSR). Her articles on the Afghan peace process and security in South Asia have been published by the Atlantic Council, The Diplomat and RÆSON.

Dr Aleksandra Dier

Dr Dier is UN Women’s Regional Advisor on Peace and Security in the Middle East and North Africa. She was previously the Gender Coordinator at the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), where she led efforts to integrate gender perspectives in countering terrorism and violent extremism. Dr Dier has worked for the UN in the areas of conflict prevention, mediation, sanctions, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism, with previous positions in the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Conflict Prevention, the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. She served in UN field missions in Afghanistan and Burundi, and was involved in the planning of the peacekeeping operation in Mali (MINUSMA).

Prior to joining the United Nations, she was a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich and a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, where her work focused on European security policy and crisis management in Africa. She received her M.Phil and Ph.D. from the University of Oxford.

Professor Lord Evans

Jonathan Evans is former Director General of the Security Service (MI5) and was its Director for Counter-Terrorism from 2007 to 2013. Born in 1958, he graduated from Bristol University, where he gained a degree in Classical Studies. He joined the Security Service in 1980 and he first worked on counter-espionage investigations. In 1985, he moved to protective security policy and advised other Government departments on the protection of classified information. Lord Evans then worked on implementing policy changes as part of Sir Anthony Duff's modernisation of the Service.

Lord Evans’ subsequent main focus was counter-terrorism, both international and domestic. During the late 1980s and 1990s, he had various postings in Irish-related counter-terrorism. He also had a spell as head of the Security Service's secretariat and two years in the Home Office. During this secondment, Sir Jonathan was closely involved in the development and implementation of VIP security policy. From 1999 onwards, Lord Evans was directly involved in countering the threat from international terrorism. In 2001, he was appointed to the Security Service's Management Board as Director of international counter-terrorism - ten days before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. He became Deputy Director General to Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller in 2005. He succeeded her as Director General in April 2007.

He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2013 New Year's Honours List and retired from the Service in April 2013. In October 2014 Her Majesty The Queen conferred a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life. Lord Evans sits on the Cross Bench and was nominated personally by the Prime Minister for his public service. Lord Evans has a Certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors.

Dr Shiraz Maher

Dr Shiraz Maher is Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) and a member of the War Studies Department at King’s College London. He currently leads the Centre’s research on the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts and also researches Salafi-Jihadi soteriology.

Maher is a recognised expert on the current Middle East crisis and jihadist movements. His book, Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea (Oxford University Press; and Hurst & Co.) has been widely acknowledged as a ground-breaking exploration of the political philosophy behind contemporary jihadist movements.

Maher is also an adjunct lecturer at Johns Hopkins University (where he currently teaches separate courses on radicalisation and political Islam), and was a visiting lecturer at Washington College during the Spring Semester of 2012 (where he taught Middle East politics).

He is a contributing writer for the New Statesman, frequently writing on Islamic State and the broader Middle East. He has conducted fieldwork across the world, interviewing members of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusrah, Ahrar al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army. Most recently, he has conducted interviews with more than 100 Western foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq. Based on his insights from those interviews, he has given evidence before two parliamentary committees on the Syrian conflict, the flow of foreign fighters into the country, and the rise of Islamic State.

In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in journalism for his pieces on radicalisation, foreign fighter mobilisation, and the terrorist threat to Europe. He also received the prize for ‘Excellence in Research Innovation and Impact,’ at the King’s Awards in 2015.

At this event

Shiraz Maher

Senior Lecturer

Event details