Lunch is served from 11.30, the seminar starts at 12.00.

Since 9/11, al-Qaida has become one of the most infamous and widely discussed terrorist organizations in the world, with affiliates spread across the globe. However, little-known are the group's activities within Afghanistan itself, something which Anne Stenersen examines in her book. Using an array of unique primary sources, she presents an alternative narrative of al-Qaida's goals and strategies prior to 9/11.

She argues that al-Qaida's actions were not just an ideological expression of religious fanaticism and violent anti-Americanism, but that they were actually far more practical and organised, with a more revolutionary and Middle Eastern-focused agenda than previously thought. Through Stenersen's analysis, we see how al-Qaida employed a dual strategy: with a small section focused on staging international terrorist attacks, but at the same time a larger part dedicated to building a resilient and cohesive organization that would ultimately serve as a vanguard for future Islamist revolutions.

The book will be published in May 2017. Advance praise of the book: 'Anne Stenersen has written what surely is the definitive account of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. She writes with great authority and also is even-handed and well balanced in her assessments.' -Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad

Anne Stenersen (M.Phil, PhD) is a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). Educated in Middle Eastern Studies, Russian, and Arabic, she has conducted research on militant Islamism since 2006. Recent publications include Al-Qaida in Afghanistan (Cambridge University Press, 2017), “Jihadistenes program I Europa”, Internasjonal politikk 74: 4 (2016) and "Jihadi Terrorism in Europe: The IS-Effect" (with Petter Nesser and Emilie Oftedal), Perspectives on Terrorism 10:6 (December 2016).

Chair is Senior Research Fellow at NUPI Rita Augestad Knudsen. She is working particularly on counter-terrorism and anti-radicalisation, attached to C-REX (Center for Research on Extremism) and the Terror Consortium.