White supremacist praise of the Taliban takeover concerns US officials

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Taliban fighters airs connected the backmost of a conveyance successful the metropolis of Herat, westbound of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, aft they took this state from Afghan government. The Taliban seized 2 much provinces and approached the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital. (AP Photo/Hamed Sarfarazi)

As the United States-backed authorities successful Afghanistan fell to the Taliban and US troops raced to permission the country, White supremacist and anti-government extremists person expressed admiration for what the Taliban accomplished, a worrying improvement for US officials who person been grappling with the menace of home convulsive extremism.

That praise has besides been coupled with a question of anti-refugee sentiment from far-right groups, arsenic the US and others rushed to evacuate tens of thousands of radical from Afghanistan by the Biden administration’s August 31 deadline.

Several concerning trends person emerged successful caller weeks connected online platforms commonly utilized by anti-government, White supremacist and different home convulsive extremist groups, including “framing the activities of the Taliban arsenic a success,” and a exemplary for those who judge successful the request for a civilian warfare successful the US, the caput of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, John Cohen, said connected a telephone Friday with section and authorities instrumentality enforcement, obtained by CNN.

Cohen said connected the telephone that DHS has besides analyzed discussions centering connected “the large replacement concept” a conspiracy mentation that immigrants, successful this lawsuit the relocation of Afghans to the US, would pb to a nonaccomplishment of power and authorization by White Americans.

“There are concerns that those narratives whitethorn incite convulsive activities directed astatine migrant communities, definite religion communities, oregon adjacent those who are relocated to the United States,” helium added.

Far-right extremist communities person been invigorated by the events successful Afghanistan, “whether by their tendency to emulate the Taliban oregon progressively convulsive rhetoric astir ‘invasions’ by displaced Afghans,” according to caller investigation from SITE Intelligence Group, an American non-governmental enactment that tracks online enactment of White supremacist and jihadist organizations.

Some radical are commending the Taliban’s takeover arsenic “a acquisition successful emotion for the homeland, for freedom, and for religion,” SITE said successful its weekly bulletin connected far-right extremists.

Neo-Nazi and convulsive accelerationists — who anticipation to provoke what they spot arsenic an inevitable contention war, which would pb to a Whites-only authorities — successful North America and Europe are praising the Taliban for its anti-Semitism, homophobia, and terrible restrictions connected women’s freedom, SITE found.

For example, a punctuation taken from the Proud Boy to Fascist Pipeline Telegram channel, said: “These farmers and minimally trained men fought to instrumentality backmost their federation backmost from globohomo. They took backmost their government, installed their nationalist religion arsenic law, and executed dissenters … If achromatic men successful the westbound had the aforesaid courageousness arsenic the Taliban, we would not beryllium ruled by Jews currently,” SITE found.

“Globohomo” is simply a derogatory connection utilized to insult “globalists,” the word utilized by conspiracy promoters to picture their force (the evil planetary elite who power the media, finance, governmental strategy etc), according to SITE.

For months, US officials person warned that domestic convulsive extremism is the top menace to the homeland, pointing to the January 6 onslaught astatine the US Capitol arsenic a stark illustration of the imaginable for unit that tin hap erstwhile conspiracy theories and mendacious narratives flourish.

A important portion of the existent menace situation comes from individuals who are influenced by what they spot online, Cohen told CNN successful an interrogation past month.

At this time, Anti-Defamation League’s Center connected Extremism, is not seeing immoderate observed credible threats, oregon mobilization of online extremist activity, but is acrophobic that the existent online rhetoric highlights ideological concerns and imaginable threats to nationalist safety, said Joanna Mendelson, subordinate manager of the center.

Extremists often instrumentality existent events and weave them into their ain communicative and worldview, said Mendelson, which is what is taking spot successful the aftermath of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and amid the humanitarian and subject crisis.

“They’re taking the aforesaid benignant of halfway tropes and themes, and benignant of bigoted views of the world, and injecting them into this existent event,” Mendelson told CNN.

There has been a batch of Islamophobia and xenophobia echoed by White supremacists and anti-Muslim activists, claiming that nationalist information and nationalist information is threatened due to the fact that they spot refugees done a stereotypical lens arsenic being unsafe criminals oregon terrorists, according to Mendelson.

A halfway conspiracy guiding White supremacist ideology is the “the large replacement,” the content that ultimately, the White contention is facing its eventual extinction, she said.

There is besides “almost this infatuation and admiration” of the Taliban, Mendelson said, pointing to the conception that an under-equipped insurgent radical could successfully decision a planetary power.

“The information that the Taliban astatine the extremity of the time could assertion triumph implicit specified a satellite powerfulness is thing that White supremacists are taking enactment of,” she said.

Megan Squire, a prof of Computer Science astatine Elon University, who researches US-based home extremist groups, has seen 3 main Afghanistan-related trends look successful platforms utilized by a scope of far-right groups, specified arsenic White supremacists, neo-Nazis and Proud Boys-style forums.

The archetypal communicative to look among the utmost far-right groups was “reveling successful the humiliation” of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan arsenic images emerged of Taliban fighters taking implicit metropolis aft city, on with US instrumentality near behind, Squire said, some celebrations of decision and feelings humiliation arsenic Americans.

When 1 goes deeper into the neo-Nazi groups, you spot immoderate solemnisation of the Taliban, usually related to highly misogynistic oregon highly anti-Semitic discussion, she added.

This benignant of cross-ideological praise has humanities precedent, according to Squire, citing arsenic an example, a meme that circulated successful neo-Nazi communities during a peculiarly misogynist play astir “white Sharia,” the conception that women should beryllium treated the mode the Taliban treats women.

There person been caller examples of right-leaning groups supporting question overseas that look ideologically distant. For instance, earlier this summer, QAnon and Donald Trump-supporting online forums celebrated the deadly subject coup successful Myanmar and suggested the aforesaid should hap successful the United States truthful Trump could beryllium reinstated arsenic President. CNN besides spoke to followers of the erstwhile President successful Ventura, California, successful February who said they wanted to spot a Myanmar-style coup hap here.

However, the astir communal communicative is astir the thought that the US is “importing the Taliban” done the relocation of Afghans and that Afghan refugees are excessively antithetic to go existent citizens, according to Squire.

“It’s truly an anti-Muslim idea, anti-immigration idea,” she said.

The Pentagon announced Monday that the past US subject planes near Afghanistan, departing aft weeks of chaotic and deadly evacuation efforts that were punctuated by the devastating termination attack past Thursday that killed much than 170 people, successful summation to the 13 US work members who were besides killed.

Some of the Afghanistan narratives are focused connected “the Taliban did it right” and that it should beryllium a “lesson learned” for however we should run successful the US, a US instrumentality enforcement authoritative told CNN astir the accelerated emergence of the Taliban arsenic the US withdrew troops.

“That’s got america a small concerned,” due to the fact that it suggests an escalation successful violence, the authoritative added. For example, determination were references to the information that lone 80,000 Taliban were capable to decision an Afghan service of respective 100 1000 supported by the US, the authoritative said.

As of February, the Afghan forces numbered 308,000 personnel, according to a United Nations Security Council study released successful June — good supra the estimated fig of equipped Taliban fighters, which ranged from 58,000 to 100,000, CNN antecedently reported. Though fig of Afghan forces has been considered by galore to beryllium inflated.

“There are immoderate important discussions,” successful which radical are expressing enactment of what the Taliban has done and are looking astatine it arsenic an illustration of what anti-government extremists should beryllium doing successful the US, the authoritative said, adding that the absorption has been a “little spot surprising.”

In Europe and the US, determination has besides been an “outpouring” of anti-refugee commentary from White nationalists and Neo-Nazis responding to the Taliban’s takeover, SITE found.

Commentary connected anonymous forums has been peculiarly violent, according to SITE, which recovered users discussing taking up arms, and successful 1 case, threatening attacks connected refugee assistance organizations in Florida.

The hateful rhetoric is akin to that seen amid Libyan and Syrian exile waves successful the 2010s, which paved the mode for convulsive violent attacks successful Christchurch and Pittsburgh, according to SITE.

Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, DHS officials person been bracing for whether Afghans themselves volition beryllium targeted erstwhile they onshore successful the US and are resettled here, a DHS authoritative antecedently told CNN.

“Will they beryllium the imaginable target? Will Afghans themselves go targets?” the authoritative said, noting the concern.

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