Catholic Family News

The Fall of Afghanistan and the Resurgence of Radical Islam

Image: Taliban jihadists occupy the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan after taking control of the city on Aug. 15, 2021. (Zabi Karimi / AP)

As I write this, the news is full of reports that Kabul has fallen to the Taliban, that the president of Afghanistan has fled, and that the new government will be named the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, it’s being reported that the U.S. Embassy has been evacuated, but it’s not yet clear if embassy staff have been able to leave the country.

Up until yesterday [Aug. 15, 2020], many in the Biden administration were saying that none of this would happen, or — if it did happen — it wouldn’t happen for a long time. But it’s happening right now. And the suddenness of the takeover should give us pause.

In the last two years there has been a cascade of sudden events for which few were prepared — violent riots in hundreds of American cities, a surging rise in crime, a worldwide pandemic, the contentious election of a president with a tenuous grasp on reality, a revival of racial tensions, and an invasion of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants across our southern border. Most stunning of all, the reins of the U.S. government are now in the hands of committed leftists.

From a historical perspective, all of this happened in the blink of an eye. And — at least for most Americans — almost all of it was unexpected.

The sudden and unexpected capitulation of the Afghanistan government should serve as a warning that more turbulent and dangerous times lie ahead. That’s not a difficult prediction to make. Our defeat in Afghanistan stems in many ways from the same “woke” illusions that have allowed lawlessness and moral chaos to grow and thrive in America.

Indeed, many of our miscalculations in Afghanistan seem to be based directly on the same kind of magical thinking that now plagues our schools, our city councils and even our military. In times of crisis, we rely on our military to keep a level head when dealing with an enemy like the Taliban. But it now appears that our military was one of the first institutions to succumb to “woke” doctrine — that is, to wishful thinking. Like the radical activists who called for defunding the police. radical generals enthusiastically supported programs which led to a moral disarmament of the troops.

Instead of building morale, unit cohesion and readiness, they undermined these qualities by introducing training in critical race theory, systematic racism, white bias, and LGBT pride. Of course, as common sense would suggest, such programs seemed guaranteed to increase divisions among troops: blacks against whites, straights against gays, Christians and conservatives against liberals and leftists. The Air Force’s big idea for boosting morale was to drag in drag queens to entertain the airmen. The people who sanctioned these bizarre training programs and entertainments were not lower-level staff, but the topmost of the top brass. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin presided at a “pride” event in the Pentagon, and, on another occasion, he announced that fighting climate change was the military’s top priority. On the other hand, General Mark Milley, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former commander of our troops in Afghanistan, seems to think that “white supremacy” is the greatest threat to our nation. Similar oddball positions have been taken by chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael Gilday, Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown Jr., and a host of other top-ranking officers.

With all of this social engineering on their minds it’s no wonder that the generals didn’t have much time left over to think about the threat from the Taliban. Moreover, the kind of indoctrination that our troops have been subject to not only undercuts unit cohesion and troop morale (suicides are at an all-time high), it also defeats the whole rationale for defending one’s country in the first place. If your country is presented to you as the most racist and bigoted nation in history, why should you risk your life fighting for it? If America is no better than the Taliban (or ISIS, or Al-Qaeda) then what right do we have to intervene?

These “woke” myths have greatly inhibited the military’s effectiveness in Afghanistan and elsewhere. But the most dangerous illusion subscribed to by both the military and successive administrations has to do with Islam itself. It’s the illusion that Islam is a religion of peace. It’s the faith-based notion that Islamic culture and religion is not that different from our own: that devout Muslims want the same things that we want — liberty of conscience, tolerance for differing opinions, democracy, and the equality of men and women.

Anyone who is familiar with the Koran, the Hadith, Sharia law, or the history of Islam, knows that the more devout a Muslim is, the less likely that he wants any of these things. Many of our policy makers, however, are not particularly religious people, and so they tend to underestimate the importance of religion in people’s lives. But the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and the like are deeply religious. They are not fighting simply for land, or for natural resources, but for Allah. The wars they fight are religious wars. And one of the main tenets of their religion is that the whole world must be subject to Allah. As Taliban commander Muhammed Arif Mustafa recently put it: “It is our belief that one day…Islamic law will come not just to Afghanistan, but all over the world…Jihad will not end until the last day.” For this reason, most of the carrot and stick incentives offered by America and its NATO allies simply don’t work — least of all Jen Psaki’s warning that the Taliban are in danger of losing favor with the “international community.”

The threat from Islam has been greatly underestimated because very few have really attempted to understand Islam, its warlord founder, and its warrior ethos. Even though generations of Americans have thrilled to James Bond movies featuring evil villains who seek global domination, they seem oblivious to the possibility that real-life ideologues really do seek global conquest. Yet, one of history’s clear lessons is that this is exactly what Islam wants.

One indication of the lack of perspective about Islam and its global ambitions is that the significance of 9/11 is fading from memory. Many of the “woke” generation were only toddlers at the time of the attacks, so they didn’t experience the sense of shock and fear felt by many Americans for years after the event. But, that fear has faded with the passage of time. Recently, many of the families of 9/11 victims have expressed outrage over media claims that the January 6th Capitol riot which resulted in one death was worse than the 9/11 attacks which left nearly 3,000 dead and launched wars.

Will there be another 9/11? Unfortunately, it’s hard to say otherwise. Because of our unwillingness to learn the lessons of that day, we seem destined to receive more harsh reminders. And because of the quick and decisive manner in which the Taliban retook Afghanistan, another attack seems all the more likely.

Indeed, it now seems likely that we will witness a powerful resurgence of Islamic jihad activity all over the world. The humiliating departure of the American forces from Afghanistan will be taken as a sign of Allah’s will by many Muslims throughout the world. Some of America’s allies will take it as a sign that they can no longer count on America, and some will elect to adopt a more neutral stance in the war against Islamic terror. Just as the Afghan army eventually capitulated to the Taliban, we can also expect that other people in other lands who are fighting jihadists will give up the struggle, and accept the harsh rule of Sharia rather than take the chance of losing everything.

Here in the U.S. we must ask ourselves if we are really ready for another 9/11-type attack. For example, are the New York City Police prepared? They’ve been seriously demoralized by the failure of their leftist mayor to back them up. Meanwhile, a great many police have left the force or taken early retirement because of anti-police sentiment, rising crime rates, and the push to defund the police. Will they be on high alert or will they be preoccupied with defending themselves against verbal and physical assaults?

And even if American police stand firm, how about the rest of the world? As Osama bin Laden once observed, men naturally favor a strong horse over a weak one. And, increasingly, radical Islam appears to be the strong horse. Turkey, China, Pakistan, and Iran have already indicated that they will recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. And they all stand ready to supply arms and money to the Taliban. Meanwhile, the Taliban has acquired arms of its own — American rifles, artillery, Humvees, drones, and helicopters abandoned by the fleeing Afghan army. In addition, they have released about 5,000 battle-hardened Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners from Bagram Air Base. Inspired by their imams and by the Koran, these fighters are unlikely to opt for a quiet retirement in the country.

For many Muslims — especially young Muslims — the victory will provide an inspiration to join the local jihad, and recruitments will likely soar. The fresh blood could possibly tip the balance in many contested areas claimed by Islamists — for example, in parts of Africa, the Philippines, and India.

India, of course, has nuclear weapons — quite a lot of them. And this brings up another frightening possibility. In defeating the Afghan army, the Taliban acquired a considerable number of high-powered weapons. Could other Islamic forces acquire nuclear weapons from capitulating governments in other parts of the world? India is one possibility, but it would put up a hard fight. India has a long memory of past Islamic conquests, and it will not surrender easily.

But much of Europe is another story. There are signs that its people are losing the will to resist. Europe has an aging population, and in recent years it has shown a propensity for appeasing Islam. Meanwhile, the Muslim population of Europe continues to grow and it is a much younger population. In other words, a great many of Europe’s Muslims are of fighting age.

Both France and England have nuclear weapons and advanced delivery systems, but obviously such weapons were never intended for the kind of situation that now faces the French and the British. But it is conceivable that these weapons could fall under Islamic control should either country succumb to Islamization. Both countries have experienced more jihad attacks — some with massive casualties — than America. And some, such as French author Michel Houellebecq, believe that France is ready to submit.

And even if Europe remained steadfast, how about the U.S itself? As I mentioned above, America’s generals have very strange ideas about what it is they are supposed to do. If America’s military leaders are stupid enough to fall for critical race theory, the threat of a white supremacist coup, the merits of neo-Marxism, and the crucial role that drag queens play in boosting morale, they’ll fall for anything.

One indication that this is so, is that the Pentagon recently appointed six Muslim radicals (one third of the total) to the newly established “Countering Extremism Working Group.” The group has been given the task of rooting out extremists (i.e., conservatives, Christians, and patriots) from the ranks of the military. So, extremist Muslims will be employed to purge the Army of its most loyal and patriotic soldiers. It’s a classic case of letting the fox guard the hen house. And it’s happening despite the fact that on several occasions, extremist Muslims have infiltrated U. S. Army bases with deadly effect.

When he was campaigning for President, Joe Biden promised to appoint Muslims to federal government positions “at every level.” But it looks as though Muslims are already serving at every level of federal and state government. Some of them are undoubtedly serving loyally, but some of them may be serving other interests. In his 2015 book, Catastrophic Failure, security analyst Major Stephen Coughlin spoke of significant infiltration of the Pentagon by the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2016, Philip Haney wrote of a similar penetration of the Department of Homeland Security in his book See Something, Say Nothing. In 2020, in the midst of writing a sequel to the book, Haney was found dead of a gun shot wound on the side of a road. It’s not just a phobia that keeps people from saying what they see. In many cases it’s a real fear that what probably happened to Haney could happen to them.

It’s only recently that Americans woke up to the fact that the Chinese communists have for years been exercising considerable influence over universities, corporations, and individuals in high government positions. Will we wake up someday to find out that radical Islamists have been conducting similar influence operations throughout American society?

But the curious thing is that such influence operations are hardly necessary. That’s because a majority in the academic, media, and political establishments long ago sold themselves on the myth that the real Islam is peaceful, tolerant, and essentially moderate. Moreover, they have made every effort to cancel and silence those who won’t go along with the myth—the people they dismiss as “Islamophobes.”

This morning, one of the headlines on the bottom of my TV screen read: “Officials: Taliban took over faster than expected.” A great many things are now happening faster than expected. And it’s likely that the influence of China and Islam over the rest of the world will continue to grow faster than expected.

But you’re not supposed to notice. Sunday’s Taliban victory administered a jolt to complacent Americans. But many such jolts have been administered over the years, and after each one we retreat again into complacency. Most Americas are still less afraid of Islam than they are of offending against the ideology of wokeness — less afraid of Islam than they are of being thought “Islamophobic.”

What we need to fear, however, is not “Islamophobia” but the comeback of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS, and the alliance of all three with China, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and numerous other powers that seek our defeat.

Reprinted with permission from

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Professor William Kilpatrick

Professor William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He has written several books on cultural and religious topics such as "Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West" (2012) and "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad" (2016). His numerous articles have been published by a wide variety of outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, Policy Review, FrontPage Magazine, JihadWatch, Crisis, and Catholic World Report. He currently directs the Turning Point Project, an initiative dedicated to educating Catholics and other Americans about the threat from Islam.

Professor William Kilpatrick

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Professor William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He has written several books on cultural and religious topics such as "Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West" (2012) and "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad" (2016). His numerous articles have been published by a wide variety of outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, Policy Review, FrontPage Magazine, JihadWatch, Crisis, and Catholic World Report. He currently directs the Turning Point Project, an initiative dedicated to educating Catholics and other Americans about the threat from Islam.