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Plural of mujahid, “one who engages in jihad.” The term does not have a necessary connection with war. In literal terms, it means “one who struggles on behalf of Islam.” In recent years, however, it has been adopted by those who consider themselves engaged in armed defense of Muslim lands. The struggle has many dimensions. Some see themselves fighting foreign domination; others are fighting against injustice, especially unjust state oppression. The term became known in the West in the early 1980s as the Afghan mujahidin battled against the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Muslim volunteers from many countries calling themselves mujahidin also fought in conflicts such as those in Albania, Kashmir, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Chechnya. Today, in post-Taliban Afghanistan, the term is still proudly used by veterans of the wars against both the Soviets and the Taliban (also mujahidin but whom most Afghans consider the agents of a foreign power).

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