Since 9/11, far-right extremists have killed more Americans on US soil than any international extremist group.
Two-thirds of Americans are more concerned about domestic extremism than foreign attacks, according to a survey carried out by The Associated Press (AP) and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
65 percent of respondents were either extremely concerned or very concerned about US-based extremist groups. 50 percent voiced the same concerns of international extremist groups.
Respondents who politically identified as Democrats were more likely to be concerned about domestic threats (75 percent) than Republicans (57 percent).
The same poll found that about six in ten said that the conflict in Afghanistan – along with the war in Iraq – was not worth fighting.
The survey sampled 1,729 adults and was conducted between August 12-16, as the Taliban were marching toward their rapid takeover of Afghanistan, two decades after the US invasion of the country that toppled the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11.
The US invaded Iraq in 2003 and ousted Saddam Hussein under the pretext that his regime was in possession of weapons of mass destruction and had connections to terrorist groups – all of which turned out to be false.
Last week, a report by the Cost of War Project found that close to a million people, including at least 387,072 civilians, were killed in the US-led “war on terror” in Afghanistan and Iraq along with other parts the Muslim world Washington engaged like Somalia, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Pakistan.
Furthermore, at least 37 million people have been displaced over the course of America’s “forever wars” in the region.
Growing threat of far-right violence
Following the 9/11 attacks, much of the focus of US foreign policy was channeled into combating foreign militant groups like Al Qaeda and its ideological sympathisers from conducting attacks on US soil.
During this period however, the threat of domestic extremism wasn’t given the kind of attention it should have – despite far-right groups having killed more Americans than any other since 9/11.
According to a report by DC-based think tank New America, 114 deaths have resulted from far-right violence spanning more than three dozen attacks, compared to 107 by what is termed “jihadist” violence across fourteen attacks following the 9/11 attacks.
“Far from being foreign infiltrators, the large majority of jihadist terrorists in the United States have been American citizens or legal residents,” including those involved in “every lethal attack except one” since 9/11, the report said.
FBI Director Chris Wray said the domestic terrorism on display during the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol wasn’t an isolated event and is “metastasizing across the country for a number of years.”
Wray added that white supremacists are responsible for “the biggest chunk of our domestic terrorism portfolio overall” and “have been responsible for the most lethal attacks over the last decade”.