(Video Credits: MEMRI TV)
A Taliban spokesperson has stated that establishing relations with Israel is possible, if both sides come to an agreement. Dr. Muhammad Naeem, the spokesperson of the Taliban’s Political Bureau stated to news agency Memri said: “Our policy is to resolve problems through dialogue and mutual understanding with everybody. Whoever has a problem and wants to resolve it, we are perfectly ready”.
When asked if the Taliban included Israel in this statement, Naeem asked in response: “What problem do we have with Israel?”
He continued by stating “If a country or a person does not have a problem with us, can you ask whether we are willing to resolve the problems with people we have nothing to do with? I think that asking this is unreasonable.”
While Dr. Muhammad Naeem is open to negotiations, he may not be speaking for the Taliban leadership. Instead, this could be a misunderstanding of policy and its communication to the wider press. The Taliban’s official spokesperson stated after the fall of Kabul, that while it would like to establish relationships with countries, Israel is not one of them. The Taliban is known for sending contradictory messages, especially to news reporters in interviews.
While the Taliban may not establish relations with Israel, it is establishing relations with countries that it would never have established during its reign in the 1990s. The Taliban, along with Al-Qaeda, sent jihadists and material support to Chechen jihadist rebels who fought against Russian troops. Now, the Taliban is considering buying much-needed fuel and wheat from Russia, which would be beneficial to both countries.
The Taliban viewed China as another existential threat and supported Uyghur Muslim jihadists in the 1990s, but now they are willing to look past those abuses in exchange for mining equipment and infrastructure development.
Iran, Afghanistan’s neighbor, was frequently bombed because of its majority Shia population, which the Sunni Taliban viewed as apostates. Relations fell to their lowest in 1998 when the Taliban seized the Iranian consulate and killed 11 people. Iran deployed 70,000 troops to the border and was about to initiate war. Now, the Iranian government allows the Taliban’s diplomats to use the Afghan embassy in Tehran.
Written by GoodHistory Contributor Alexander Korfiatis