By Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom—
The world was stunned by last week’s terrorist attack at the Kabul International Airport. It wasn’t just the death toll or the humiliation suffered by the United States. The suicide bombing brought global jihad back into the headlines, and, to be more specific, it has created a feeling that what has just happened in Afghanistan is a prelude to the return of the global jihadi terrorism that struck the world through much of the past two decades.
It has to be said that many experts believe the opposite is true. In their view, the world has changed, terrorism has changed, and even Afghanistan has changed. They believe one can not draw a parallel between what is happening now and events at the start of the millennium. Nevertheless, fears about the return of jihadi terrorism are not unfounded.
The Taliban has a history of cooperation with terrorist organizations and one of the first steps taken by the new regime in Afghanistan was to open prison gates and release thousands of terrorists. The exact number is unclear, but Western intelligence organizations estimate that anywhere between 2,000 to 6,000 Islamic State members were among those released.
According to a report released by the Institute for National Security Studies, there was a decline of some 14% in suicide bombings in 2020 in comparison to the previous year. The decline is part of an ongoing trend since 2018. Most terrorist attacks were carried out by Salafi jihadist organizations adhering to Salafist ideologies that seek to return Islam to its original pure form – to the ancestors (salaf) – and to impose Sharia law.
A brief history of Salafist-jihadi terrorism
The Salafist movement (salafiya) has been around for decades, but the jihadi aspect materialized around the conflict against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Tens of thousands of Muslims from around the region joined the mujahideen (armed Islamist fighters) and helped throw out the Soviet Union and bring down the Afghan Republic. The conflict also served as the bedrock for the establishment of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which started out as an ideological movement in the town of Kandahar in the south of the country and in 1996 completed its takeover of the country, established an Islamic Emirate and imposed strict Sharia law. Continue Reading…