Taliban spokesman says last Jewish-Afghan will not be harmed

Taliban won't harm last Jewish-Afghan, spokesman unknowingly tells Israeli TV
2 min read
18 August, 2021
Suhail Shaheen discussed the fate of Afghanistan's final Jew with Israel's Kan state TV as part of a wide range of appearances in international media of late.
Suhail Shaheen is both a Taliban spokesman and negotiator [Getty]

Afghanistan's last remaining Jewish citizen will be unharmed under Taliban rule, an English media spokesperson unknowingly told an Israeli broadcaster.

Suhail Shaheen talked to Israel's Kan state TV as part of a wide range of appearances in international media of late, hoping to calm anxieties about what Taliban rule will mean for minorities and women in Afghanistan, The Times of Israel said.

Shaheen, who is currently located in Doha, was quizzed about what would happen to minorities, including the last remaining Jewish-Afghan, Zablon Simintov, in the country.

The spokesperson noted that he did not know the country's sole remaining Jew but said he would be unharmed.

"We don’t harm minorities. There are Sikhs and Hindus in the country, and they have their religious freedom," he told the Israeli outlet.

However, the interviewer, Arab Affairs Correspondent Roi Kais, didn’t inform the Taliban spokesman that Kan is an Israeli organisation, though did give the station's name when this was requested.

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"We identified ourselves as the Kan news channel, but we didn't stress that we are an Israeli media outlet," he admitted during the segment.

Shaheen took to Twitter late on Tuesday to say: "I do many interviews with journalists every day after the falling of provincial centers of Afghnistan [sic] and the capital Kabul to the Islamic Emirate.

"Some journalists maybe [sic] masquerading but I haven't done [an] interview with any one [sic] introducing himself [as being] from an Israeli media."

During the interview with the Israeli broadcaster, Shaheen said he could not understand why so many Afghans are attempting to flee Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover of Kabul.

"I don't understand why people are running away, nothing will happen here," he said.

Shaheen argued the Taliban wishes to have peace, and that things wouldn't be "like in the past" and that Islamic law will lead to "more peace and stability".

It "doesn't mean that people will die", he maintained, according to Anadolu Agency's Arabic-language service.

The Taliban, which has recently seized the vast majority of Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, styles itself as the Islamic Emirate.

Afghanistan: Taliban gains (16 August 2021)
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Kan interviewer Kais raised Gaza rulers Hamas, after the fellow Islamist group applauded the Taliban's victory, The Times of Israel said.

The Taliban spokesman explained he appreciates the Palestinian faction's message but maintained they had not worked together in any location.

When the Sunni Taliban group last ruled Afghanistan two decades ago, it oppressed religious minorities, including Shia Muslims.

The group destroyed the famed Buddhas of Bamiyan, which were built a millennium and a half ago when Buddhism was prominently practised in Afghanistan.

UNESCO considers them part of a World Heritage Site.