DHS worried Taliban takeover could inspire extremist violence in US: report

DHS worried Taliban takeover could inspire extremist violence in US: report
© Getty Images

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials are reportedly concerned that far-right extremist groups inspired by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan could carry out violent attacks in the U.S.

John Cohen, the head of the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, said on a call with local and state law enforcement officials Friday that white supremacist and other violent extremist groups have been "framing the activities of the Taliban as a success," according to CNN, which obtained the conversation. 

Cohen also reportedly noted that the groups have held discussions on the "great replacement concept," the belief that an influx of Afghan refugees or other immigrants could threaten the standing and power of white Americans. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"There are concerns that those narratives may incite violent activities directed at immigrant communities, certain faith communities or even those who are relocated to the United States," Cohen said, according to CNN. 

The Hill has reached out to DHS for additional information. 

The reported comments follow similar assessments by independent firm SITE Intelligence Group, which said in a recent report that the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has “invigorated far-right extremist communities, whether by their desire to emulate the Taliban or increasingly violent rhetoric about ‘invasions’ by displaced Afghans.” 

The Taliban’s rapid territorial gains prompted the U.S. and coalition forces to airlift thousands of American citizens and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan. 

The Biden administration has said that it was able to successfully evacuate more than 123,000 people ahead of its Tuesday deadline, including roughly 6,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Afghan allies. 

With the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks quickly approaching, DHS officials have also warned of risks of potential violence from foreign terror groups

A bulletin released in August noted that the anniversary of the attacks that prompted America’s longest war as well as religious holidays “could serve as a catalyst for acts of targeted violence.” 

DHS said at the time that racially motivated and anti-government extremists may “seek to exploit the emergence of COVID-19 variants by viewing the potential re-establishment of public health restrictions across the United States as a rationale to conduct attacks.” 

“The reopening of institutions, including schools, as well as several dates of religious significance over the next few months, could also provide increased targets of opportunity for violence,” DHS said, though it noted that there were “currently no credible or imminent threats identified to these locations.”