Why the American far right openly admires the Taliban
As the The Taliban have taken full control in Afghanistan last month, praise for the brutal group came from a seemingly unlikely sector: the far right.
Cryptic chats and online forums in the United States have been peppered with far-right praise for the Taliban’s victory and their anti-feminist and anti-LGBTQ agenda.
Cryptic chats and online forums in the United States have been peppered with far-right praise for the Taliban’s victory and their anti-feminist and anti-LGBTQ agenda. Users shared memes promoting the Taliban like “Good guys, celebrated the will of the group of execute dissidents and compared their own struggle against liberal impiety with the Taliban’s rejection of Western decadence.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until the US invasion after September 11, 2001. At the time, their regime, based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran, required women to wear the burqa and banned them from going to school or working outside the home. The group TV prohibited, cinema and music and punished criminals and opponents with executions and amputations.
Today’s Taliban have promised more moderation, claiming that women can go to school and work outside the home. But their takeover in Afghanistan has raised fears of violent retaliation against women and anyone seen as a supporter of the West or a challenge to their authority. Since their recent takeover, public advertisements featuring the faces of women have been repainted or demolished. The group already has forbidden music, demanded that women wear a hijab and that women must have a male chaperone to travel.
Today, admiration for the Taliban has spread to a handful of pro-Trump conservatives and former President Donald Trump himself, who praises the group like “smart” and “good fighters”. Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Described the Taliban as “more legitimateThat the Biden administration, while Donald Trump Jr. tweeted support for the criticism of the Taliban against the censorship of big technologies.
In many ways, the far-right’s admiration for Islamist extremism is nothing new. Far-right extremists have parallels seen for a long time with the ideas of Islamist terrorists on the clash of civilizations and the rejection of the liberal West, multiculturalism, feminism and LGBTQ and minority rights. Islamist and white supremacist terrorists express similar apocalyptic visions and parallel desires for a territorial caliphate and a white ethno-state. They deploy the same types of violent terrorist strategies – from the swift execution of enemies to the embrace of martyrdom – accelerate the process towards the end of time.
In many ways, the far-right’s admiration for Islamist extremism is nothing new.
But far-right praise of the Taliban comes at a time when the growth of the far right was motivated largely by vocal opposition to Islam and immigration, especially fear of the supposed threat of terrorism posed by ordinary Muslims. The far-right English Defense League was formed in 2009 in reply at a demonstration by an Islamist group. The far-right French National Front (which changed its name to Rassemblement national in 2018) has relied heavily on anti-Islamist messages, such as a 2010 election poster showing a woman in a burqa in front of a map of France and the words “no to Islamism”.
This is also true for the violent terrorist end of the spectrum. Right-wing and Islamist cycles of violence have often been revenge-based responses to attacks from the “other side” in what is called “reciprocal radicalization, ”Or cumulative extremism.
Real efforts to collaborate fortunately, far-right and Islamist scenes are rare. Hardcore white supremacist extremist groups and channels regularly share propaganda from the Islamic State and Al Qaeda group, including instructions on attack manuals, bomb-making information, and violent images of the EI. But historically, Islamist terrorists have been less interested in supporting the efforts of the far right, which they tend to see as part of the wider Western enemy.
There are now indications that this is changing. New search Tracing online interactions between Salafist-jihadist and white supremacist groups has shown that the cross-ideological discussions on Telegram channels align with issues such as the two movements’ shared hatred against Jews. Such alliances are nascent and potentially superficial, but nevertheless worrying.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the past few years of extremist mobilization, it’s that strange coalitions are possible in a way that increases the risk of spontaneous and planned violence. In the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, anti-mask, QAnon conspiracy theorists and ordinary Trump supporters joined forces with more militant white supremacists and anti-government extremists around ‘a common goal of preventing the vote count in the US presidential election.
Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Described the Taliban as “more legitimate” than the Biden administration.
Over the past few years, we have seen increasingly confused ideological expressions across the far right spectrum. There are anti-immigrant groups that promote LGBTQ rights as “Western” values to be protected from an alleged threat from the Islamic regime. The recent white supremacist terrorist attacks have been driven in part by climate change and eco-fascism. There are Neo-Nazi Satanist Groups which mix occult and white supremacist beliefs.
Such intersecting ideologies and bizarre coalitions are likely to develop in the years to come, fueled by the very nature of extremist radicalization online. Unlike in the past, when extremist content was primarily distributed by groups with relatively clear ideologies and goals, today’s encounters with extremism are less cohesive and more disparate in nature – reflecting the radicalization process of choice. which occurs when individuals encounter pieces of extremist ideologies online.
We must expect that extremist threats will continue to evolve and transform into new forms in the years to come. Far-right extremists will simultaneously praise the Taliban and promote the anti-refugee reaction. They will seek alliances with others – even supposed opponents – whom they see as sharing objectives around the restoration of tradition, the fight against modernity and the protection of heritage. They can rally around perceived common enemies, including Jews, feminists, and multiculturalism itself.
To outsiders, the ideological cross-expressions of support and praise may seem contradictory. But while we can’t fully predict how extremist movements will strengthen and nurture each other in the years to come, we should at least anticipate it.