Next peace deal? Taliban considers secret talks with Israel

Anonymous former Afghan official says Taliban weighing secret talks with Israel, which it sees as a major player in the region.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Islamic fundamentalist Taliban organization, which now has control of Afghanistan, may be interested in normalizing relations with Israel in the future, according to a new report.

Israel’s i24 News reported on Wednesday that the Taliban is weighing whether to clandestinely reach out to the Jewish State with the aim of keeping the ties under wraps for the next several years.

“In the preliminary stages, they are interested in establishing confidential relations with the intention to see these negotiations bear fruit in years or even a decade,” an anonymous source who once served as a prominent official in the Afghan government, told i24.

The source, who unlike most former Afghan government employees did not flee the country and continues to live in Kabul, said that he has been involved in discussions around a peace agreement with Israel that included Taliban officials.

The Taliban’s motivations are pragmatic in nature, the source explained.

“They want to empower and sustain their regime. Therefore they need to form strong relations with superpowers in the region, and they see Israel as a strong influencer,” he said.

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The Abraham Accords peace agreements, which were brokered by former president Donald Trump, normalized Israel’s relations with the Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. Sudan also joined the accords, but its government was subsequently overthrown in a military coup and maintains lower-key security and intelligence cooperation with Israel.

“Some Muslim countries made ties with Israel because it is in their national interest, and we also have our own national interest,” the Afghan source said, adding that he is already in contact with an Israeli advocate who is pushing Jerusalem to reach out to the Taliban.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021 amid a disastrous pull-out of American and foreign troops from the country.

Shortly afterwards, Zablon Simintov, who claimed to be the last Jew in Afghanistan, left the country for an unknown destination.