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October 31, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10288

Afghan Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid Meets With Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh In Turkey, Says: 'We Are Proud Of You, Your Resistance, Steadfastness, And Efforts; You Have Dealt A Blow To The Israeli Occupation Regime'

October 31, 2022
Palestine, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 10288

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA, i.e., the Afghan Taliban), met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh during a recent visit to Turkey and assured support to the Palestinian resistance against Israel, according to a Dari-language report by an Afghan news agency.[1]


The Taliban delegation meets with Hamas leaders in Istanbul

The Afghan Taliban delegation led by Zabihullah Mujahid met with Ismail Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders in Istanbul, where leaders of the Taliban and Hamas attended a conference of Islamic religious scholars, the report by Payam Aftab news agency noted.

Zabihullah Mujahid, who is also the deputy information minister, posted on Twitter a photo of him and his delegation meeting with members of the Hamas delegation led by Ismail Haniyeh and said that the two sides discussed the current situations in Palestine and Afghanistan.

Zabihullah Mujahid said that Palestine was the issue of the entire Muslim Ummah, according to the report, adding that the meeting between the Afghan Taliban and Hamas leaders comes weeks after Israeli media reported that the Taliban officials have favored the establishment of diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and Israel.


A screenshot of the story by Payam Aftab news agency

In September 2022, Dr. M. Naeem Wardak, spokesman of the Afghan Taliban's Political Office in Doha, was asked by an Al-Jazeera journalist if the Taliban could hold "Dialogue with everybody with no exceptions? Even with Israel?" To this question, Dr. Wardak responded, "What problem do we have with Israel?" However, soon the Taliban diluted their statement under pressure from Hamas.[2]

This response of the Taliban's Doha-based spokesman was interpreted, most probably prematurely, to mean that the IEA, which has yet to be recognized by the UN or any country, is moving in the direction of normalizing relations with Israel in a bold and desperate move aimed at gaining legitimacy and diplomatic recognition.

According to Zabihullah Mujahid's Twitter account, which seems to be managed by a team, the Hamas and Palestinian delegations discussed, during their Istanbul meeting, the current situations in Palestine and Afghanistan in detail and "the Afghan representatives described the Palestine issue as the issue of the entire Muslim world and assured support to the Palestinian cause."[3]

Meanwhile, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh hosted a delegation from Afghanistan led by the Afghan Taliban government spokesman, and the two sides examined recent developments in Al-Quds, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the West Bank as well as climate change and international developments generally, according to a report by Iran's Shahr Ara News.[4] It is not clear if this meeting hosted by Haniyeh was a separate meeting.

"The two sides stressed the need for strengthening bilateral relations and unity among all the Muslims on the issue of Palestine, Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa as the issue of the Islamic Ummah and declared that the Muslim Ummah's unity with the Palestinian issue is the way to the victory and liberation of Palestine," the report said, adding that the two sides also discussed the effects of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The report, quoting a Hamas statement, said that Haniyeh hailed Afghanistan's stance on the Palestinian issue and described the experiences of Afghanistan and Palestine as the same, saying that Afghanistan's freedom gives more hope for liberation from oppression to the Palestinian people and to the world.

Zabihullah Mujahid praised Hamas and the Palestinian resistance, and assured full support to the Palestinians, their rights, and their resistance, saying: "We are proud of you, your resistance, steadfastness, and efforts. You have dealt a blow to the Israeli occupation regime."


Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid's tweet.

 

[1] Payam-aftab.com/fa/news/101496/%D8%B0%D8%A8%DB%8C%D8%AD-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%AF-%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%85%D8%AA-%D9%81%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B7%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D9%85%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D9%86%DB%8C%D9%85, October 26, 2022, October 26, 2022.

[3] Twitter.com/Zabehulah_M33/status/1585028176174276609/photo/1, October 26, 2022, October 26, 2022.

[4] Shahraranews.ir/fa/news/131435/%D8%B0%D8%A8%DB%8C%D8%AD%E2%80%8C%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%DB%8C%D9%84-%D9%87%D9%86%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF , October 26, 2022, October 26, 2022.

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