Arif is a researcher within the Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research (CENTRIC) Institute at Sheffield Hallam University. His research mainly focuses on international security and terrorism. Prior to this appointment, Arif worked as a researcher at the University of Derby UK, where his research particularly focused on education and social development. Arif holds a BA in Law/Sociology and MA in Politics from University College London (UCL).
Arif completed his doctoral thesis on the political economy of state building in post-2001 Afghanistan with a particular emphasis on education at UCL-Institute of Education. He has widely published in peer-reviewed academic journals, most recently in Central Asian Survey, Research in Comparative and International Education, Asian Journal of Political Science, and The Diplomat. He also is the founding director of Kabul-based think-tank, Centre for Peace & Development Studies. Arif has also served as senior adviser to the Afghan Government and numerous international development agencies including, WB, UNDP, and DfID.