Imran Said in Quillette:
Though the Taliban has once again taken power in Afghanistan, they have come back at a rather inopportune time. Across the Muslim world, many seem to be souring on Islamists, defined as those who derive legitimacy from Islam and advocate for modern states to be governed along Islamic precepts, both economically and judicially. Over the last few years, Islamist governments have fallen out of power across the Middle East and Africa, haemorrhaged support in Turkey, and failed to make headway in Southeast Asia.
Islamism was once seen as an unstoppable force throughout most of the Muslim world, its proponents representing the most organized and influential voices in opposition to the often corrupt and incompetent secular leadership of Muslim countries. In more authoritarian states, mosques regularly served as one of the few “safe spaces” for citizens to vent their disenchantment about the state of society, ensuring the institutions of Islam a prominent place in the larger anti-statist opposition. Many Islamist groups further amass popular support by filling the gap left behind by woefully inadequate welfare systems and, in turn, providing their own social services, including schools and hospitals.