Israel a ‘Tumor’ on Islamic World’s Body, Taliban Spokesman Tells Iranian Regime News Outlet
A leading Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan has issued a blistering attack on the State of Israel in an interview with an Iranian regime-backed media outlet, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.
Speaking to Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam TV network on Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihollah Mojahed called the Jewish state a “tumor in the body of the Islamic Ummah,” adding that “Quds [Jerusalem] is a common issue.”
While there have been important political and religious differences in the past between Shi’a Iran and Sunni-dominated Afghanistan, Iran and its regional allies nevertheless welcomed the conquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban during a 10-day campaign in August.
“We are proud to have stood alongside our noble Afghan brothers and sisters during the jihad against the foreign occupiers,”Javad Zarif — until last month Iran’s foreign minister — declared as Taliban fighters rolled into the Afghan capital Kabul. Senior Taliban delegations are reported to have visited Tehran on at least two occasions this year, in January and July.
Iran’s ally in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Hamas organization, similarly welcomed the Taliban’s seizure of power.
“Today the Taliban is victorious after it used to be accused of backwardness and terrorism,” said Musa Abu Marzouk, a member of the Hamas political bureau, on Aug. 16. “Now, the Taliban is more clever and more realistic. It has faced America and its agents, refusing half-solutions with them. The Taliban was not deceived by the slogans of democracy and elections and fake promises.”
Mojahed’s interview with the Iranian outlet addressed other issues, including the persecution of women and girls under Taliban rule.
“The government will ensure women’s rights in accordance with Islamic law,” Mojahed said.
Asked whether Afghanistan would again become a haven for Al Qaeda and similar Islamist groups, Mojahed issued a denial.
“Al-Qaeda elements fled the country due to war, insecurity, and ethnic differences with Afghan society,” he claimed. “We do not see any trace of the armed elements of al-Qaeda and we have not had any contact with them for a long time.”