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The Afghan Arabs were Arab and other Muslim jihadists who came to Afghanistan during the 1980s to fight alongside the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviet Union and the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan regime during the Soviet-Afghan War. Between 20,000 and 35,000 volunteers from 43 countries across the Muslim World came to Pakistan to join the jihad, inspired both by Abdullah Azzam's 1979 fatwa mandating fighting the jihad in Afghanistan for every able-bodied Muslim, as well as by financial incentives from the Saudi government and private donors such as Osama bin Laden. Most Arab foreign fighters did not arrive in Afghanistan until the late 1980s, and many volunteers (most of whom were teenagers) were criticized for being inexperienced adventure-seekers who cared more to be photographed firing a gun and returning home as a hero than to fight alongside the Mujahideen on the front lines. Many Arabs never saw combat, instead spending time camping out in the Afghan mountains or living at government-provided guesthouses in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, across the Khyber Pass from Afghanistan. The Pakistani government was on the verge of closing down the guesthouses of the ineffective Afghan Arabs when Osama bin Laden claimed to have defeated a much larger Soviet force in the Battle of Jaji, a propaganda victory for the growing international jihadist cause. After the Soviet withdrawal, many Afghan Arabs resolved to continue the "eternal jihad" elsewhere, joining Bin Laden's newly-founded al-Qaeda network. Around 4,000 Afghan Arabs went on to fight with the Bosnian Mujahideen in the Balkans during the Bosnian War, while 2,000 Egyptian jihadists returned home to join the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, 2,800 Algerian jihadists returned home to join the Armed Islamic Group during the Algerian Civil War, and several others remained in Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban in the Afghan Civil War.

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