For the past several years, global terrorism was in retreat and had dropped off the list of Americans’ fears entirely. Now, after the debacle in Afghanistan, it’s suddenly front-page news again. Will a revival of terrorism be President Joe Biden’s legacy?
Rewind the tape to 2015. ISIS – which emerged as a powerhouse after President Barack Obama’s decision to evacuate Iraq – was claiming huge swaths of land, to the surprise of Obama (who had dismissed ISIS as the “JV team”). And, not coincidentally, the number of terrorist attacks spiked. In 2013, there were four Islamic terrorist attacks worldwide. By 2015, the number had exploded to 106, three of them in the U.S.
In 2015, ISIS struck in Paris in a coordinated assault, killing more than 130 people, and the attack in San Bernardino, California, claimed 14 lives and injured 22. Earlier that same year, terrorists killed five people at a recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, two in Garland, Texas. In the next year came the ISIS-inspired mass shooting at a Florida nightclub that claimed 49 lives, bombs in New York and New Jersey, an attack in Ohio.
In December 2015, terrorism was at the top of the list of problems facing the United States, according to an ongoing Gallup poll, beating out the economy, government, and guns as chief concerns. Obama, meanwhile, kept telling the nation that defeating ISIS would be a long and arduous process, which was true only because Obama was micromanaging the effort.
Proof of that came when ISIS was routed just seven months after President Donald Trump took office. As we noted at Investor’s Business Daily, “Rather than talk endlessly about how long and hard the fight would be, Trump said during his campaign that, if elected, he would convene his ‘top generals and give them a simple instruction. They will have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS.’” Turns out he meant it.
Since then, the number of Islamic terrorist attacks worldwide has plunged. In the U.S., there have been only two acts of terrorism in the past four-plus years that were fueled by Islamic extremism. And in Gallup’s poll of top problems, terrorism stopped even registering. No one mentioned it in the July 2021 survey.
Then Biden, in an eerie repeat of the Obama years, decided to pull troops out of Afghanistan against the advice of many, after which the country quickly fell to Taliban terrorists – despite Biden’s promise that this wouldn’t happen. And then ISIS suddenly re-emerged, this time called ISIS-K.
Biden seems to think that ISIS won’t be a problem this time around because, in his view of the world, the Taliban and ISIS are “arch” enemies. Never mind that the Taliban is made up of terror specialists who now are equipped with some of the most advanced weaponry in the world.
Plus, it’s far from clear that the Taliban will help in any fight against ISIS-K. After all, the Taliban had previously released thousands of ISIS-K prisoners from the Bagram Air Force Base after the U.S. abandoned it.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Friday that “Well, I don’t know the exact number. Clearly, it’s in the thousands when you consider both prisons, because both of them were taken over by the Taliban and emptied. But I couldn’t give you a precise figure.”
Some of the prisoners released by their “arch enemies” may have been involved in the terrorist attacks in Kabul that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. military men and women.
In response to that, Biden has launched two drone attacks against ISIS-K planners. But the question going forward is this: Will the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, the rebirth of ISIS, and the appearance of American weakness fuel another huge spike in Islamic terror around the world – including in the United States?
If, God forbid, that does happen, the cause will be easy to pinpoint. And Joe Biden will have presided over two major increases in global terrorism since 9/11.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board