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Which Taliban Will Govern?

September 2, 2021

A question in the minds of Muslim leaders in southern Asia and national security professionals in the United States and Western Europe is whether the religion of Afghan Taliban leaders will permit them to form and administer an Afghan government.

Is it Islamic zealotry that we see in the faces of gun-toting Taliban “militia” or is that a zeal for national identity?

After all, Donald Trump was not alone in forcefully advocating a “New Nationalism.”

The peoples of former “Captive Nations” of the Soviet Union–Poland, Hungary, Georgia, and even, Belarus–are experiencing a rebirth of national consciousness.

This has alarmed the states of the European Union, long wedded to an ideology of “Internationalism” and that explains the alarm of the United States and governments in Western Europe.

“Make My Nation Great” smacks of nationalist movements that consumed Italy under Benito Mussolini, Germany under Adolph Hitler and in 2021 Islamic regimes in Iran and Afghanistan.

Something is happening in nation-states where political activists feel that political action is needed to regain or reassert their national identity.

Conservatives in the UK who led the Brexit movement “get it,” as do nationalists in Eastern Europe who see a way to reverse decline of Western culture by asserting their own national identity.

Apparently, so do the Afghan Taliban.

The question we must ask is what is dominant:  Islamic zealotry or Afghan nationalism.

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