Ukraine Could Become The Far Right’s Afghanistan

Ukraine Could Become The Far Right’s Afghanistan
Members of a Ukrainian far-right group train in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Jan. 29, 2022 (AP photo by Evgeniy Maloletka).

In the 1980s, when Afghanistan was embroiled in a war between Soviet forces propping up a client government in Kabul and the CIA-assisted mujahedeen insurgency, the country became a hotbed of global jihadism, as radical Islamist fighters, most infamously Osama Bin Laden, flocked there to wage armed struggle against the communists.

Several billions of dollars worth of covert U.S military assistance went to training and arming the Islamist guerilla fighters, including with Stinger antiaircraft missiles, which greatly hampered Soviet air power. What the U.S government couldn’t know at the time was how the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan would go on to galvanize radical Islamists and lay the foundations for future jihadist terrorist attacks on the West.

Unfortunately, the case of Ukraine suggests that the West has not learned the lesson from Afghanistan: that supporting and arming insurgencies can later have unpredictable and calamitous effects. Much like the Islamists who traveled to Afghanistan in the 1980s to wage jihad and later became the vanguard of global Islamist terrorism, present-day Ukraine could have the same mobilizing effect for the global far right.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.