September 02, 2021

Afghanistan is set to become a sanctuary for extremists

Originally published in The Hill

Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have trumpeted assurances their administrations received from the Taliban that al Qaeda and ISIS will not attack America from Afghanistan. But the Taliban’s ideological beliefs align it closely with Salafi-jihadi groups that use violence to advance their aim of enforcing a fundamentalist understanding of Islam. These beliefs led the Taliban to protect Osama bin Laden in 2001 — though the group may have officially disagreed with his actions — and to defy the United States after the 9/11 attacks.  

Twenty years later, the Taliban is savvier, but the core beliefs of its members remain the same. 

The danger of these Salafi-jihadi beliefs is that they do not stop at Afghanistan’s borders. The Taliban’s Islamic Emirate is not the end of the project; rather, it is the start. The vision always has been global, and the Taliban has played host willingly to those seeking to replicate the Islamic Emirate’s success elsewhere in the Muslim world.

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