by Hany Ghoraba
August 17, 2021
As the world fears a human rights crisis in Afghanistan, Islamists are celebrating and congratulating the return to power of a group that ruthlessly enforces Islamic law.
The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas was among the first to congratulate “the Muslim Afghani people for the demise of the American occupation from its soil. We congratulate Taliban and its courageous leadership for this victory which culminates to its long Jihad for 20 years … We stress that the freedom from the occupation of America and its allies proves that the resistance of people and on top of the Jihad of our Palestinian people ends with victory and liberation.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh telephoned Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Monday evening to personally congratulate him.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group also issued a congratulatory statement praising, “the dear Afghan people for liberating Afghan lands from the American and Western occupation. The Afghani Muslim people presented and staged the greatest jihadist glory against all invaders throughout their honorable history.”
Egyptian born Islamic Group (Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya) leader Assem Abdul Majeed hailed “The Conquest of Kabul: Praise be to God who honored the Mujahedeen (jihadists), [who] defeated the infidels and Today, every believer rejoices And every hypocrite and atheist get angry.”
Separately, he wrote, “Have you seen how was power transferred to the Taliban quietly and without resistance?” He compared the Taliban’s determination to Egypt’s 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, saying it wouldn’t have happened “if the Brotherhood of Egypt had the courage and strength of the Taliban.”
Radical Muslim Brotherhood cleric Wagdy Ghoneim, who now lives in Turkey, posted a video in which he said, “God made [the] Taliban victorious over America and the infidel western countries that united against it.”
From Yemen, where Islamists have been waging a bloody civil war since 2014, the spokesman for Houthi rebels boasted that “Every occupation has an end, long time or short, and now America is reaping failure after 20 years of occupying Afghanistan, so do the countries of aggression consider this?!”
But it is not just terrorist groups and jihadists celebrating the Taliban victory. Islamist affiliated governments and institutions joined the party.
Iran’s new ultraconservative president, Ebrahim Raisi, described the U.S. “military failure” as a chance for a lasting peace in Afghanistan. “America’s military defeat and its withdrawal must become an opportunity to restore life, security and durable peace in Afghanistan,” Raisi said on Iranian state television.
Tehran hosted Taliban officials last month to prepare for the vacuum expected after the U.S. withdrawal. “We are proud to have stood alongside our noble Afghan brothers and sisters during the jihad against the foreign occupiers,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at the time.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Islamist government is offering the security and technical assistance. Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is mulling meeting with Taliban leader. “The latest developments and the situation of the Afghan public are really, really troubling,” Erdogan told CNN Turk on Wednesday.
Pro-government Turkish media highlighted the Taliban’s willingness to forge strong relations with Turkey. “Turkey is our brother, we have many points in common based on faith,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said last month. “We want Turkey to leave the past and return to the present and the future. After that, we can ask for dialogue.”
Erdogan had strong ties with the Afghan mujahideen before becoming Turkey’s prime minister. He was seen in an old video sitting at the feet of Afghani warlord Gulbeddin Hekmatyar, known as the “Butcher of Kabul” in Afghanistan.
The head of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), Ahmed Raissouni, congratulated the Taliban for “the expulsion of the American and European invading forces. And this is a purely Afghan achievement that came thanks to continuous jihad, patience and sacrifices … We are ready to receive the scholars of Afghanistan and visit them and negotiate with them on issues of Islam and the application of Islamic Sharia as best as possible.”
Ahmed Bin Hama al-Khalili, the Mufti of Oman, congratulated “the brotherly Muslim people of Afghanistan for the clear victory and the valued victory over the aggressor invaders, and we follow this by congratulating ourselves and the entire Islamic nation for the fulfillment of God’s sincere promise.” Khalili’s statement is surprising since he is an official in a country considered a U.S. ally.
The Taliban previously allowed Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terrorists, including Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. Muslim Brotherhood members already are mulling using Afghanistan as a new refuge, Al Arabiya reported. Their current home, Turkey, started clamping down on Brotherhood activities in an effort to mend strained relations with Egypt.
The ISIS affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram which has operates extensively in Nigeria, West Africa and African Sahel countries is believed to benefit emotionally from the recent withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. Boko Haram would like to replicate the Taliban’s success and now has a model to believe in.
The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s takeover, turns Africa into the new frontline of terror, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari wrote in this Sunday’s Financial Times.
“Despite rising attacks across Africa in the past decade, international assistance has not followed in step. Mozambique is merely the latest African state in danger from terrorism. The Sahel remains vulnerable to Boko Haram, 20 years after its formation, and other radical groups. Somalia is in its second decade fighting the equally extreme al-Shabaab,” wrote Buhari. Boko Haram and other terrorist groups have killed more than 11,000 Nigerians in the past six years.
The Taliban victory reverses a decade of setbacks for jihadists and Islamists in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The American defeat in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s control of the country revitalizes the hopes of Islamists and jihadists around the world.
IPT Senior Fellow Hany Ghoraba is an Egyptian writer, political and counter-terrorism analyst at Al Ahram Weekly, author of Egypt’s Arab Spring: The Long and Winding Road to Democracy and a regular contributor to the BBC.
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