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Global Jihad—How it Spread and Thrived

It was when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 that the so-called international jihad was resurrected in modern times. The invasion was seen as one by a communist power against a Muslim land, when communism was Islam’s fiercest ideological enemy. The idea enraged Muslims across the world and drove thousands to go to fight on the side of their fellow Muslims in Afghanistan.

As the Cold War was becoming its most intense, the US-led West had a great interest in undermining Soviet influence in Asia but without having to go head-to-head with Moscow. To do so, the United States rushed to finance and arm the flood of Muslim foreign fighters going to Afghanistan. At the same time, the oil-rich Arabian Gulf region was the largest provider of men and donations supporting the fight in Afghanistan, all under the banner of ‘Jihad in defense of Muslims’.

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