Taliban welcomes ties with any country, except Israel

Taliban welcomes ties with any country, except Israel
2 min read
08 September, 2021
A spokesman for the Taliban said that the group would welcome ties with any country in the world, bar Israel.
Suhail Shaheen has been holding press conferences in Qatar, as the Taliban advanced [Getty]

The Afghan Taliban have announced they are willing to establish ties with any country - except Israel.

Suhail Shaheen, spokesperson for the Taliban - which took over Afghanistan last month - said the new administration would not recognise Israel.

It comes after the Taliban announced it had formed a provisional government, dominated by hardliners and including one minister who is among the US' Most Wanted. 

"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 Russia's Sputnik News

"Of course, we won't have any relation with Israel. We want to have relations with other countries, Israel is not among these countries."

There are no women in the new Taliban government and some names announced on Tuesday have notorious reputations - a blow for world powers who hoped that reformers in the movement might be given leading ministerial positions. 

Among those named in the cabinet is Sirajuddin Haqqani as interior minister, despite being designated as a terrorist by the US with a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to his arrest.

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The US was quick to express concern regarding the choices made for the government. 

"We note the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women. We also are concerned by the affiliations and track records of some of the individuals," a spokesperson for the US State Department said.

It is not known which countries will engage diplomatically with the new Taliban government.

Despite the Taliban's insistence that there will be no relations with Israel, Shaheen did create confusion last month when he unknowingly granted Israel's Kan public broadcaster an interview. 

The journalist for Kan, Roi Kais, did state the name of the media organisation but did not say it was an Israeli broadcaster. 

Amid the confusion following the interview, Shaheen explained on Twitter that he was not aware he was speaking with an Israeli. 

"I do many interviews with journalists every day after the falling of provincial centers of Afghanistan and the capital Kabul to the Islamic Emirate," the spokesperson said. 

"Some journalists may be masquerading but I haven't done interview with anyone introducing himself [that] he is from an Israeli media [outlet]."

The Taliban have been linked with the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda since the 1990s, who are known for engaging in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments, in addition to global acts of terrorism.