The Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen recently told the Russian Sputnik news outlet that the radical Islamists are willing to establish relations with all countries in the world, including the United States, except one: the Jewish state of Israel.
“Yes, of course, in a new chapter if America wants to have a relation with us, which could be in the interest of both countries and both peoples, and if they want to participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, they are welcome,” Shaheen told Sputnik news.
However, there was no change in the Taliban’s hostile attitude toward Israel.
“Of course, we won’t have any relation with Israel. We want to have relations with other countries, Israel is not among these countries,” Shaheen said.
Last month as the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Shaheen accidentally gave an interview to Israeli media, apparently unaware that that the journalist he was talking to, Roi Kais, is Israeli. Shaheen later claimed that he had been duped into talking to Israeli media.
The Taliban's bigoted stance on Israel is irrational by any international diplomatic standard for several reasons. The distance between Afghanistan and Israel is 1,921 miles (3,083 kilometers) and there is no territorial dispute or historic conflict between Afghanistan and Israel.
And, despite past British, Soviet Russian and U.S.-NATO invasions into Afghanistan, the Taliban are willing to open a new chapter and establish diplomatic ties with all these nations. By contrast, the Taliban currently refuses to have official ties with Israel which has never invaded Afghanistan nor occupied even a square inch of its territory.
Taliban hostility toward Israel is not due to concrete grievances or specific Israeli policies. It is not about what Israel does but what Israel is: the world’s only Jewish state.
This fundamentalist anti-Semitic attitude places the Taliban in a small and rapidly shrinking group of nations led by another radical Islamic regime: the ayatollah regime of Iran.
In the past, much of the Muslim world boycotted Israel out of presumed solidarity with the Arab world in general and the Palestinians in particular. However, today six Muslim Arab states have established diplomatic relations with Israel and unofficial ties exist between the Jewish state and most countries in the Middle East.
Even the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas maintains relations with the Israeli government.
While the Palestinian-Israeli conflict seems intractable, it could be resolved if both sides agree on mutually acceptable borders. However, other regimes such as Iran, the Taliban, Hezbollah and Hamas want to see the Jewish state’s complete destruction instead. These radical Islamists reject Jewish national self-determination within any borders. They believe that Jews can only exist as dhimmis, a “protected” minority living under Islamic supremacy.
Jews had lived in Afghanistan for at least 1,500 years. However, this came to an abrupt end when Afghanistan’s last Jew, Zebulon Simantov, recently decided to move to the United States.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.