Foreign Policy Digital

The Balkan Wars Created a Generation of Christian Terrorists

War radicalized the far-right — and nobody stopped them at home.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent civil war were a powerful seedbed for Islamist radicalism. So were other wars, from Chechnya to Iraq. But one critical conflict that has shaped the course of global extremism and terrorism has been overlooked. Much of the current global far-right extremism was cooked in the furnace of the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, especially the Bosnian War.

The Muslim side of this story is well known. Bosnian Muslim militias were joined by thousands of foreign volunteers. Some were fresh recruits from Western Europe. Others were veterans of the jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviet invasion in the ’80s. The fighting skills developed by the foreign volunteers in the war, the contacts forged with others from across the world, and the radicalization of

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