British-Palestinian journalist Abdel Bari Atwan said that the Taliban has changed and that it is now more pragmatic and seeks ties with regional powers such as Russia, China, Iran, and Pakistan. He made his remarks in an interview that aired on BBC Arabic TV (U.K.) on August 17, 2021. Atwan said that if the U.S. takes a "vindictive approach" towards the Taliban, such as the recent freeze of Afghan government assets in American banks, then the Taliban might become a terrorist organization.
Abdel Bari Atwan: "Israel today is in a state of confusion, in a state of panic. They know very well that what happened in Kabul airport will repeat itself at Ben Gurion airport. But Ben Gurion airport will be closed, there will be no planes in it.
"There will have no other option but [to flee through] the sea. By Allah, they should listen to the advice of Hassan Nasrallah and start learning how to swim, because their only option will be Cyprus, their only option will be the Mediterranean Sea. The Afghans went to the [Kabul] airport. The Israelis will not find an airport to flee from.
"In July 1995, I met with President Yasser Arafat in Tunisia.
"Arafat offered me to take a walk outside. It was at night, around 1 AM. So, we went out to take a walk and he told me: 'By Allah, you will see the Israelis fleeing Palestine, like rats fleeing a sinking ship.' He told me: 'You will get to see this in your time. I will not live to see that day, but you are much younger than me, and you will get to see this.' Today I believe that this prophecy will come true."