Taliban Again Signals It Wants Peace With Israel and the Jews

Could the blood-soaked jihadist group that rules Afghanistan eventually join the Abraham Accords? And should Israel let it?

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Afghanistan, Taliban
Does the Taliban, the Islamic extremist group that rules Afghanistan, want peace with Israel?
Does the Taliban, the Islamic extremist group that rules Afghanistan, want peace with Israel? Photo by EPA-EFE/STRINGER 1295

After fully taking back control of Afghanistan following the abrupt withdrawal of US forces, the Taliban is getting down to the every day issues of running and maintaining the country. And one of its first culture and heritage initiatives is… restoring an old synagogue?!

That certainly comes across as odd considering this is the same jihadist group that demolished an ancient statue of Buddha for violating Sharia law. While synagogues for dhimmi (read: second-class) Jews are not prohibited by Islam, few could have imagined the Taliban would use Afghanistan’s limited financial resources to preserve one.

But according to The Art Newspaper, the Yu Aw synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the city of Herat will undergo a 16-month, $500,000 restoration project to save both the building and its mikva (ritual bath) from collapse.

This is being done purely for cultural purposes. There are no more Jews living in Afghanistan.

Herat, Afghanistan. Credit: S.K. Vemmer (U.S. Department of State) – U.S. Embassy Kabul Afghanistan on Flickr.

The question then is why?

Why would a group considered to be one of the most extreme Islamic movements in the world care to preserve Jewish history and heritage?

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere hidden in recent remarks of an Afghan official with ties to the Taliban government.

The Taliban, the official told Israel’s i24News, “are interested in establishing confidential relations [with Israel] with the intent of seeing these negotiations bear fruit in years or even a decade.”

The reason: “They [the Taliban] want to empower and sustain their regime. Therefore, they need to form strong relations with superpowers in the region, and they see Israel as a strong influencer.”

It is also worth noting that the Taliban is made up largely of members of the Pashtun tribe, which has proven Jewish roots.

Could Taliban-ruled Afghanistan eventually join the Abraham Accords? And more importantly, should Israel let it, considering the group’s past crimes against humanity?

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