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Who Are The Taliban?

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As the focus of the world turns to the fighting in Afghanistan, fighting that relates to the infamous attacks of September 11, 2001, it may be important to take a look at the cities of Afghanistan, and particularly at the oft-cited Taliban.

The word Taliban translates as "students". In 1994, Afghan and Pakistani Muslim students, now known as "Taliban,” who comprise most of the Sunni sect, sought to bring order and end lawlessness and civil fighting in this ancient region. Most of the members of this Taliban were, and are, of Pashtun ethnicity. Pashtun are farmers and herders. The forty tribes of Pashtun often feuded among themselves, with some of these feuds lasting centuries. But the Pashtuns unite to repel invaders.

Most Pashtuns are farmers, raising wheat, fruits, sugar cane. Some Pashtuns herd sheep, goats, camels, and cattle. The farmers live in homes made of mud brick; the nomads live in tents made of goat hair. The Taliban enforce strict guidelines: the men must wear beards, the women, veils, and Islamic law is strictly enforced. We in America might find the enforcement extreme, however the Taliban rejects most forms of entertainment and other "lewdness" which they see as being contamination from the Western World. This dates back in the Sunni Muslim world to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by an Egyptian school teacher, Hassan al-Banna, who, it is said, was appalled by atheism and lewdness. In his words, "[Westerners] imported their half-naked women into these regions, together with their liquors, their theaters, their dance halls, their amusements, their stories, their newspapers, their novels, their whims, their silly games, and their vices." He maintained that the Islamic world was penetrated by European "schools and scientific and cultural institutes" that "cast doubt and heresy into the souls of its sons and taught them how to demean themselves, disparage their religion and their fatherland, divest themselves of their traditions and beliefs, and to regard as sacred anything Western."

The Taliban, in their effort to control Afghanistan and to enforce ancient traditions, captured Afghanistan's second largest city, Kandahar, in November 1994. Kandahar is Afghanistan's chief trade center. It is a market for sheep, wool, cotton, grains, tobacco, and fabric, including silk. The region produces fine fruits. Kandahar was founded by Alexander the Great 2400 years ago. Dominating the city is the domed mausoleum, and numerous mosques and bazaars. It has a technical college.

In January 1995, the Taliban captured the province of Ghazni, northeast of Kandahar. Then in 1996, they seized the capital city, Kabul. The government forces retreated to the northeastern part of Afghanistan.

Kabul is in east central Afghanistan, on the Kabul River. Its population is now estimated at about 5,000,000 people. Afghanistan’s chief economic and cultural center, it has long been of strategic importance because of its proximity to the Khyber Pass, an important pass in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Products of the city include textiles, processed food, chemicals, and products made of wood. While Tajiks are the predominant group, Pashtuns are an important minority. Kabul University was founded in 1932, and was the country's most important center of higher education until it was closed due to war in 1992. The university currently is partially opened, and a few students have returned. Infrastructures, such as roads and traffic system, telephone system, electricity, water sanitation, renovation of buildings are in dire need of reconstruction.

Troops of the Soviet Union occupied Kabul from 1979 until 1989. Because of its proximity to the Khyber Pass, the city has been long devastated by war. Britain, Persia, and Russia all struggled to dominate the region. Then, between 1992 and 1996 over 50,000 people were killed in a civil war on the Kabul streets. The Taliban took control in 1996, then in 2001, The Northern Alliance, which the United States recognizes as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan, seized the city and the Taliban withdrew.

In 1997, Taliban authorities changed the official name of that country to the Islamic State of Afghanistan. But only three countries recognized the Taliban as a legal government — Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, the United States accused the Taliban of harboring the Saudi millionaire, Osama bin Laden, wanted in connection with terrorist attacks against two U.S. embassies in Africa. Bin Laden was the leader of a terrorist group called Al Qaeda. The United States launched missile strikes against suspected terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. A Taliban spokesman acknowledged that Bin Laden was in Afghanistan under Taliban protection.

In 1999, the United Nations imposed trade sanctions against Afghanistan for refusing to surrender Bin Laden. Then in 2001, following the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the hijacking of airliners, a taped statement from Bin Laden was broadcast by Al-Jazeera on October 7, 2001, in which he proclaimed: "What America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted…Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more than eighty years of humiliation and disgrace, its sons killed and their blood spilled, its sanctities desecrated…" The United States accused Bin Laden of carrying out those attacks, and accused the Taliban and Bin Laden of running terrorist camps in Afghanistan, and demanded the shutdown of these camps. The United States launched a military campaign against the Taliban which included massive air strikes in support of Afghan rebels who opposed the Taliban. This support, according to a United States spokesman "enabled the rebels to drive the Taliban from power later in 2001."

Shiite and Sunni Muslims (most Taliban are of the Sunni sect) disagree among themselves as to the Mahdi, the “Rightly Guided One”. The role of the Mahdi is to bring about global rule by the descendants of Mohammad. Some years ago, a well respected historian, Timothy Furnish, wrote that the Shiites believe he has been here and will return from hiding; The Sunni say he has yet to emerge.

The Taliban today are considered to be a great threat to the Middle and Near East, and in the long range, to the civilized world. Although the Taliban soldiers are underpaid, and underfed, they prefer what they see as a noble calling to serve Mohammad and preserve their ancient culture to a lifetime of farming and shepherding. In Kabul, they have sought to undo the influence of the Western world by burning schools, even as the schools are being built.

America's stated goal in our continuing war against the Taliban is to maintain the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, and in a broader sense, to prevent the spread of the Taliban to the neighboring areas of Pakistan, and thus to the entire Middle East. It has been suggested here at Blogcritics that if the Sunni Taliban were to overpower the nation of Pakistan they might present a nuclear threat to the Shiite nation of Iran.

Our American president, the wise and brave Barack Obama has initiated and continued a policy of pursuing the Taliban; coercing the individual soldiers where possible to undertake profitable and sustaining activities. When this is impossible, the Taliban fighters will be treated as prisoners of war. This policy will be costly, but Obama considers it necessary. We can only hope that he is right. We can only hope that God will be on our side.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • John Lake

    AUTHORS NOTE: In the second paragraph of the article, it appears that I am saying the majority of Sunni Muslims are Taliban members. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is, however, true that most Taliban are Sunni Muslims.


  • John,

    NONE of the Taliban are Sunni. The Taliban are of the Deoband school, who worship like Sufi – but have the beliefs of the Wahhabi. That is not my word, a mere ignorant Jew, but the words of a Sufi scholar and expert in terrorism, Sheikh Professor Abdulhadi Palazzo. If you had followed your research properly, you would have found out that the Wahhabi infiltrated the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and dominate its thinking, and you would know that the Sunni view the Wahhabi as heretics.

    But that would be expecting altogether too much. If you want to really know something about the Pashtun – not merely the Taliban – You might want to look at these comments #109 – 111 from Broken Windows in Pakistan:

    #109 – Ruvy in Jerusalem
    Mar 13, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Looking as comment #74, I do have a few thoughts to share here. I’ve never been to Jordan, and the one time I was in the Sinai, it was under our rule, not that of the Egyptians. I never visited Pakistan, and doubt that I’d be admitted entry, given that my passport has that six letter curse word to the Moslems who run Pakistan – “ISRAEL”. And I do live here in Israel and have no intention of moving. Period.

    A number of years ago anthropologist Dr. Shalva Weil of the Hebrew University visited a Yusufzai tribe of Pakhtun living near the “Line of Control” that separates India and Pakistan. The result of her visit was an article for Jerusalem Report called “Our Brothers, the Taliban” (sorry, couldn’t get a link).

    The Pakhtun (most of the Taliban are Pakhtun) ALL claim to be descendants of the ten tribes of Israel. And they are damned proud of it. So far as they are concerned, we Jews are the scum from the wrong side of the tracks. The Pakhtun tribe of Afridi, for example (the ones who control the Khyber Pass), claim descent from the Tribe of Ephraim.

    Any MizraHi Jew could tell you that the Pakhtun are descendants of the tribes of Israel “lost” to the Assyrians about 2,800 years ago when the ancient “Kingdom of Israel” was conquered. Any MizraHi Jew could tell you that the “Jews” of Bukhara, are not really Jews at all but Israelites from the tribe of Reuven (that thought comforts me – the tribe of Reuven lived and did not die) who kept their links to Hebrew and to the Torah. The Pakhtun did not, but continue many of the customs of the Israelite religion, such as lighting candles on Friday night, and wearing sidelocks (I never thought that this was an Israelite custom, but it is).

    It is only the Ashkenazi Jews who have been too stupid to recognize who their relatives are. Unfortunately, this country is under the control of secular Ashkenazi Jewish elites, who are not only ignorant of much that the MizeraHim know, but who do not give a damn about being Jews at all. So far as they are concerned, they want to be Europeans of Israeli extraction. For them, G-d is just an abstraction to be forgotten, the faster the better.

    So what is the bottom line here? The Taliban and most other Pakhtun are not exactly my bosom buds. Most of the Pakhtun are proud to be Children of Israel. It allows them to look down on fellow Moslems because they can claim descent from the Prophet Yakub. But that is as far as it goes, so far as they are concerned – right now.

    But these are still brothers of mine, fellow descendants of the Patriarch Jacob. And things CAN change.

    Just an observation: While I do not like the Taliban at all, I do not want to see them murdered off – on spec. They are, after all, my brothers, fellow children of Israel, and they weren’t ALWAYS Taliban. The Taliban is a relatively new bunch out of Deoband, India. And their influence can be countered.

    And the Pakhtun can learn the truth about their brothers, the Jews. If they have been smart enough to survive this long, they are smart enough to shed the bullshit the MSM tosses around about us, and distinguish the truth from its lies…

    Hope infuses the soul with steel and allows it to thrive and survive in the worst circumstances, and things are getting bad here.
    #110 – MAOZ
    Mar 13, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Ruvy #109 — The Pakhtun are Muslims, yes?

    Muslims claim that it was Ishmael rather than Yitzhak who underwent the Akeida, yes? (That’s the basis of Eid-ul-Adha, if I’m not mistaken.)

    You believe they’re telling the truth about that? (I.e., tantamount to saying that the Torah is a lie.)

    If you ask me, I say that [assuming my understanding of their account of this event is correct] the Muslim account is not to be believed.

    And with that in mind, I say to myself: “The [Muslim] Pakhtun claim to be Children of Israel. Is that claim any more reliable than the Muslims’ claim vis-a-vis the Akeida?”

    #111 – Ruvy in Jerusalem
    Mar 13, 2007 at 1:04 pm


    Let’s be crystal clear here. Moslems view their religion as the original one, the default of Adam. They recognize Ya’acov as a prophet, as they recognize Moshe, Yosef and David. But the Pakhtun claim descent from Ya’akov, not Ishmael.

    The Pakhtun have been claiming descent from Israel for over a thousand years, and have never hurt Jewish merchants from Kabul who travelled in their lands over the centuries. These things have been cited for several centuries of writings, both in Persia and from Jewish sources. Until recently, the Pakhtun relationship to Islam was a thin one, at best. For the most part they called themselves Moslems and let it go with that. The Taliban changed all that.

    The story with the Pakhtun is that they converted to Islam from the Israelite religion, but as descendants of a prophet, they look down on other Moslems… And they do have long noses…

    The point is that they were Israelites long before they were Moslems and the names of their tribes (Rabani, Yusufzai, Afridi), along with the terms they use to describe the tribal and subtribal divisions – “Hel” and kahal (Hel is spelled with a Het and likely related to the Hebrew Hayíl, “kahal” should be obvious) gives evidence of this. Further research into Pakhto (a Farsi derived language) will be necessary to substantiate the links.

    Check out the works of Dr. Navras Jaat Aafreedi, a Pakhtun from India studying here in Israel who has spoken twice at the Israel Center. Google the guy up on the internet.

    I’m inclined to believe Dr. Aafreedi, a fellow Israelite seeking to cement ties between his people and ours, along with fellow Jews who are MizraHim, as well as Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Bohrer and Dr. Shalva Weil, authorities in this field.

    Finally, you may wish to refer to puktoon and their origin.

  • John Lake

    To tell you the truth, Ruvi, I doubt what you say. I feel that it is clear that the
    Pashtun, as well as the other farmers and herders in Afghanistan, are the indigenous people, and seek direction from one or the other of the descendants of The Mohammad (or his advisor).

  • Doubt all you want, John, but do take the trouble to check the sources I put forth here. I wouldn’t waste time talking about Pashtun if I didn’t know whereof I speak.

    What you feel or what I feel is irrelevant here. The facts are relevant, and if you won’t even check evidence, you cannot submit your mere opinions as fact.

  • John Lake

    You are referring to small groups within groups that have no relevance. I don’t have the time to explore every sub-sect. The fact is, most Taliban are Sunni followers of the Prophet Mohammad, and they are “appalled” by Western influence in Afghanistan, and by the bloodshed from the Western world. And they are fighting to maintain their culture. And they have declared an interest in global Muslim caliphate (rulers descended from the Prophet.)

  • Ruvy

    You are referring to small groups within groups that have no relevance. I don’t have the time to explore every sub-sect.

    Your ignorance is only matched by your arrogance. Such fools as you lead America into culs-de-sac of death where the only way out is by dragging one’s own body bag. You have my sympathy, Mr. Lake. You and all the idiots who even think you know anything.

  • John Lake

    • Most of the Pakhtun are proud to be Children of Israel.
    • They are, after all, my brothers, fellow children of Israel, and they weren’t ALWAYS Taliban. The Taliban is a relatively new bunch out of Deoband, India. And their influence can be countered.
    • And the Pakhtun can learn the truth about their brothers, the Jews. If they have been smart enough to.


    And if that is true, may we suppose that the Taliban won’t inflict damage on Israel, in support of Palestine?

    I like to think that there are readers to this article beyond ourselves. If they wish to pursue this matter, here is a link, and an indication of its direction:

    “Just as Sikhs originated from Hinduism, but are not Hindus, and Protestants came from Roman Catholicism, but are not Catholics, similarly, the Deobandi sects originated in the Sunni community, but are not strictly Sunnis.

    The Deobandi interpretation holds that a Muslim’s first loyalty is to his religion and only then to the country of which he is a citizen or a resident; secondly, that Muslims recognize only the religious frontiers of their Ummah and not the national frontiers; thirdly, that they have a sacred right and obligation to go to any country to wage jihad to protect the Muslims of that country.

    The Deobandi interpretation of Islamic teachings is widely practiced in Pakistan. The Deobandi movement in Sunni Islam was founded in response to British colonial rule in India and later hardened in Pakistan into bitter opposition to what its members view as the country’s neo-colonial elite. The Islamic Deobandi militants share the Taliban’s”

    • cat girl

      Im pashtun girl got no prb with jews or israel but i dont like the gov of israel i mean the idf that killing palestinians everday destroying thier homes which is not fair and some pashtun that wouldnt like 2 hear or know about israel origin coz of what is happning in plaestine and i got video about us being the ten lost tribe http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cG2dYW_P5Kg#

  • Nu, John? You woke up? Even in citing my claims, you cannot cite them correctly. This is from “B’ni Israel in Pakistan” by Qazi Azeem Fazli.

    The search for the “Ten tribes of Israel” is a very controversial issue because their descendants lost most of their Israelite traditions and do not possess the Talmud (Oral Torah similar to the hadith of the Muslims). Perhaps the focal point which has dissuaded Israelites from searching openly for their brethren is the Israelite civil war after King Solomon’s reign, which pitted Yehudah (Judah) against all the other tribes and eventually brought their collective downfall. Hence the descendants of the “Lost Tribes” have lived and spread in the lands east of Israel which are now known as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Burma and even western China.

    The Pakhtuns have been living in the Afghanistan area for over 2,000 years. Their language Pashto/Pakhto borrows widely from the Arab-ized Persian of their neighbors (now Iran), yet it was a purely spoken dialect. There was no Pakhto/Pashto written script whatsoever, the first Pashto book appearing about the 1500s. Hence the traditions, customs, tribal genealogy and law orally transferred from father to son. The first book on Pakhtun genealogy, the Makhzan-al-Afghani was written in 1613, and contained for the first time a printed table of descent from Abraham to the Pakhtun tribes, through the tribe of Binyamin. While the book was not accepted initially by British historians, modern historians consider it the most accurate account as compared to the other theories proposed by classical historians.

    Speaking on this Zionism topic alone is quite interesting…the word “Zionist” is created from the mountains of Yerushalim which are called “Zion”. Similarly the language of the Pathan tribesmen is called Pashto, and its speakers call themselves Pashtun, from the Persian word “Pasht” which means “back of the mountain” so in reality Pashtun is a person who lives in the mountains. The mountains the Pathan’s have been living in after exile are called the Suleiman (Solomon) mountains. The Jews/ B’Ni Israel from Russia also call themselves Mountain Jews and are said to be from the same exile.

    The word Pathan is a Pashto written form of the original word Pathan in DTorah (Divrei Hayomin/Kings 2), noting their ancestor from the line of Sarul ben Qish, the first King of Israel, who was King David’s father in law.

    More from this paper by Qazi Fazli Azeem:

    Generalizations about the Pakhtun tribes and their characteristics are like to be misleading because the various tribes live under different conditions and hence differ slightly from each other in their customs and habits. However, all of them agree to the “Beni Israel” theory as first proposed in the Makhzan-al-Afghani in 1613. They all speak the same language (Pushto/Pakhto), practice the same religion (Islam), have the same Pashtoonwali law and are known for their love of liberty and bravery. The reader must not forget that Israeli customs have been found amongst only a few tribes, most noticeably the Yousufzai (Pakhto for sons of Yousuf).

    Since historians have called some Pakhtun tribes descendants of the “Ten lost tribes” of Israel, we need a correlation of current Pakhtun customs with those of the Beni Israel prior to 722 BC, when the Israelites were first deported by the Assyrians. Hence the best judges of “Israeli” customs would be the Jews (Yehudi) that have lived side by side with the Pakhtuns for hundreds of years, before they emigrated to Israel.

    Opinion of the Afghani Jews in Israel

    The Amishav foundation was created in Israel by Rabbi Eliahu Avihail, its main purpose to reintroduce long-isolated Beni Israel communities into the mainstream rabbinic Judaism. During the 1980’s Avihail’s people began to scour the globe in the search for the remnants. In 1994, Amishav brought 57 members of the Beni Israel community of Manipur (Burma-India border) to the West Bank settlement of Kiriat Arba in Hebron (Al- Khalil).

    Since Israel’s creation in 1948, about 4,123 Afghani Jews (practicing ones) migrated to Israel [1]. Today nearly all the remaining Jews live near the synagogue on Charshi Torabazein Street, Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Around the late 70’s Eliahu Avihail interviewed Yisrael Mishal, former President of the Afghani Jewish community in Afulah, Israel. Mr. Mishal gave examples of his meetings with Pathans who live on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border [2].

    He said that the Pathan tribesmen identify themselves with their former name ‘sons of Israel’ (Beni Israel), even though nowadays they live as Muslims. In Afghanistan they are said to number six to seven million, and in Pakistan seven to eight million. Two million of them live as Bedouins. Outwardly, the Pathans are similar to the Jews.

    From their ancient customs, one can point to a connection between the Pathans and the Jewish people. They make up about half of the population of Afghanistan, in the region that is now the NWFP province and part of the Balochistan province in Pakistan. Over ninety per cent of the inhabitants are Sunni Muslims. In their ancestral home in the Suleman Mountains, the Pathans continue to live in the tribal framework as their fathers and forefathers did. The legal system operates according to the “Pashtunwali”, the unwritten Pashtun Laws, parts of which are similar to the laws of the Torah.

    The British, who ruled Afghanistan for a long time, found it difficult to distinguish between the Pathans and the Jews, and called the Pathans ‘Juz’ – Jews. The Jews, too found it hard to distinguish between themselves and the Pathans when the latter are not wearing traditional dress. Afghanistan has about 21 peoples and languages and only the Pathans, apart from the Jews, look clearly Semitic; their skin color is lighter than that of other peoples and their nose is of the curved Semitic type. Since most of them grow beards and side-locks like Jews, this also adds difficulty to an attempt to distinguish between them and the Jews.

    Even though the Pathans accepted Islam voluntarily, they maintain Jewish customs preserved from the recesses of their past. The book contains considerable evidence taken from Jews of Afghanistan who lived in the neighborhoods of the Pathans and had contact with them. The evidence doesn’t relate to all the Pathans or to all the tribes and places. However, it does prove the existence of Israelite customs among the Pathans:

    The Customs

    * Sidelocks (Payos): The sidelocks are never shaved.
    * Circumcision of male children: Done on the eighth day.
    * Talith (prayer shawl): worn as a shawl and used as a prayer mat.
    * Jewish wedding (Hupah and ring): A wedding canopy under which the groom and bridegroom sit. Some Pathans live with the Bride’s father, just as Prophet Jacob did.
    * Women’s customs (immersion in a river or spring): This is continued among the mountain dwelling tribes.
    * Levirate marriage (Yibum): An obligation for the Pathan to marry his brother’s widow and support the extended family.
    * Honoring the father: The son stands up when the father arrives in his presence.
    * Forbidden foods (horse and camel food): While most Muslims sacrifice camels at the time of Eid-ul-Azha, the Pathans never do so, and sacrifice only cows or goats.
    * Refraining from cooking meat and milk: This tradition has been reported to be followed among some Pathans.
    * Tradition of clean and unclean poultry, also known as halal / haram among muslims
    * Shabbat: preparation of 12 Hallah bread loaves, lighting a candle in honor of the Shabbat, refraining from work on Saturday.
    * Day of Atonement prayer (Yom Kippur): The book says that some of them pray turned in the direction of Jerusalem.
    * Blood on the threshold and on the two Mezzuzot (in times of plague or trouble): This custom is continued as when a Pathan house is created, the blood of the sacrificial animal is smeared on the door posts or the gate of the house.
    * Scapegoat: In the time of plague, a goat is released outside the town as it will carry the town’s disease away with it. This is an old Israelite custom.
    * Curing the ill with the help of the Book of Psalms by placing it under the patient’s head.
    * A Hebrew amulet (Kamia): This tradition continues amongst most Pathans.
    * The Custom of Tefillin: Wearing a box or pouch containing a verse of Shema Israel, that is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4). This custom of Tefillin came from a verse of the Scriptures, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes” (Deuteronomy 6:8). The pouch is usually placed over the heart region.
    * Hebrew names: Pathans make frequent use of Davud (David), Yousuf (Joseph), Yaqub (Jacob), Suleman (Solomon), Moosa (Moses) for their names and tribes, and the ancestral home of the tribes are the Suleman (Solomon) Mountains of Pakistan.
    * Holy Books: They honor the Torah, the Law of Moses. Pathan tribes such as Yousufzai have historical proof that they were in possession of the Torah [3], until the Holy books were forcibly or voluntarily taken from them by Persian Jews and Zoroastrians.
    * The code of revenge (badal) in the Pushtunwali code comes from the “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” law in the Torah of Moses. Just as the Americans say “There is no escape from death and taxes”, the pathans say “Death and revenge ” always and forever”[4].
    * The “Star of David” symbol is found on almost every house, bus, school, tool and ornament in the Pathan city of Pehshawar, Pakistan. The rich Pathans make it out of expensive metals; the poor make it from simple wood.

    Recently, Shalwa Weil of Israel has done research on the Afghan-Pathan Jewish community in Israel and published her findings in the Jerusalem Post [5], excerpts of which are given below.

    In 1935, a Jewish barber Gabriel Barukhoff traveled to Kabul and encountered nomadic Afghan Pathan tribesmen who claimed that they were descendants of the Children of Israel. In the early 1950s he told Israel’s second president, Yitzhak ben-Zvi, who was researching his book “The Exiled and the Redeemed,” that these tribesmen wore an embroidered Hanukkah lamp on their backs. He had heard that they had mezuzot on their doorposts, wrapped themselves in prayer shawls and lit candles on Friday night. When Barukoff cut their hair, they insisted on keeping their side curls.

    Dr. Shalva Weil, mentioned in Azeem’s work above, speaking at the Root & Branch English Lecture Series in Jerusalem some years ago, described her experience meeting one of the Yousufzai in Kashmir.

    She described him as a tall man with a beaked nose, a man with a regal bearing she had to look up to. She said she was from Israel. The man looked at her with contempt. “You’re from Israel?”, he said condescendingly. I’m a Child of Israel!”

    If that isn’t enough proof you can always look at the work of Dr. Navras Jaat Aafreedi here,and here, in FarzandAhmed.com, in an article from July 2008. Commenting on this article about him, Dr. Aafreedi wrote,

    #3 Navras Jaat Aafreedi on October 9th, 2009 at 12:08 am

    1. Pathans/Pashtuns are the only people in the world whose probable descent from the Lost Tribes of Israel finds mention in a number of texts right from the tenth century till the present day, written by Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars alike, both religious as well as secularists.
    2. The claim of Israelite origin is not a recent development among them, but this tradition has always been there among them. “The fact that this tradition and no other, has persisted among these tribes is itself a weighty consideration,” according to the second President of Israel and a Lost Tribes enthusiast, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi.
    3. They cannot be suspected of fabricating a fake Israelite genealogy to make it to the First World by migrating to Israel, as they have no desire to do so. They are just as hostile and antagonistic towards the State of Israel as Muslims anywhere else in the world. It is just that they derive pride out of tracing their descent from one of the Biblical characters, Jacob, whose alternative name is Israel, and who is revered as a prophet also by Muslims, irrespective of race and descent.
    4. Their claim of Israelite origin also cannot be seen as a byproduct of Christianity as considered to be the case with the B’nei Menashe of notheast India and the B’nei Ephraim of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, by anthropologists like Myer Samra, Shalva Weil and Tudor Parfitt, for they have never been in the influence of Christian missionaries, unlike the other claimants of Israelite descent mentioned above, nor have they ever been resident in areas in South Asia with any Jewish presence.
    5. The theory propounded by Olaf Caroe that the Pathan/Pashtun tradition of descent from the Lost Tribes of Israel emanates from their desire to distance themselves from their pre-Islamic polytheistic past, as it helps them to trace their genealogy from the supposed patriarchs and founders of monotheism, accepted by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is too far fetched to be considered. The question arises that if it is so, why did not the other Muslim communities of South Asia do the same?

    These sources should answer this question “if that is true, may we suppose that the Taliban won’t inflict damage on Israel, in support of Palestine?” clearly for you.

    We do not disagree on the Taliban arising from the Deoband school. But, the Taliban got its funding and its teachers from the Wahhabi, who formed a major part of the Mujahedin fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan 20 years ago, and the Wahhabi influence is very strong – right now.

    There is another point you need to get clear in your head. None of these claims are that the Pashtun are Jews. They are not – they are Children of Israel. Jews are Children of Israel, too, but we are not of the tribes of Ephraim or Naftali or Reuven. We are of the tribe of Yehudá and Shim’on. Th Pashtun are our Israelite brothers, but they are not Jews.

  • pablo

    This has got to be one of the most simplistic irrelevant articles that I have ever on the Taliban and the Moslem Brotherhood in particular.

    No mention at all made of the fact that the Moslem Brotherhood has been infiltrated at the highest levels by western intelligence agencies for decades, and is in point of fact an arm of US intelligence. I would provide relevant urls, however the fact that the author has not done his homework, I will leave it up to him to get educated on the subject that he has chosen to write about. No wonder there is so little comments on this article, it is trash.

  • Looks like you have some time on your hands, Pablo. I see a lot more of your comments than usual. You’re right about this article, of course. I tried to get my friends in India and Pakistan to come and comment – but they evidently took a look and a sniff – and ran off.

    “Big Bad Johnnie” should stick to what he knows (he’s gotta know something) – and leave politics to those of us who do know we’re talking about.

    Give me a holler at my g-mail address. Find it at my blog-site Ruvy’s Roost.

    See ya!


  • Oy vey, a bagel with a smear! Taliban? Who are the Taliban? Who were the Crusaders or Knights Templar? Who were the Borgia’s? Christians are so ready to paint the entire Islamic world with this broad paint stroke branding them barbarians, uncivilized and religious freaks. Believe it or not, there are some great people in this world who happen to be Muslim. The same can be said of the Jews, Christians and, gasp, even Satanists.

    Here in America, we have our own brand of Taliban: Pastor Rick Warren, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell (currently residing in a penthouse suite in Hell), Senator John Ensign, Congressman Bart Stupak, Senator Tom Coburn, Governor Mark Sanford, President Wanna-be Mitt Romney. Do your research. These people are more harmful to our domestic tranquility than the damned Taliban.

  • John Lake

    I have been tied up for a few days.
    My intent in the article was to give a broad overview — a starting point for those with little or no knowledge of Islam, Afghanistan, or the Taliban.
    I do appreciate your taking the time to add to our understanding of those matters.

  • if you see the taliban video you will see they just like the twelve apostles

  • John lake

    The news has finally mentioned the opium poppies. The Western soldiers are not to touch them, because the rebellion will be excessive. Maybe they should find a legitimate outlet. But that would impair
    New Zealand.
    These young men get caught up in insurgency because they have little else to do, it seems.

  • John Wilson

    Too bad we, the USA, got ourselves all tangled up in these interneccine wars. If we had ‘the goods’ on OBL in 2001 we should have just gone in and grabbed him (surely the UN would have backed that play, and if not, we could still have done it) without expanding the scope to national level to make it look more ponderous.

    Near as I can see, the Taliban are nationalists, in distinction to AQ, and we probably could have gotten them to surrender OBL with the right combination of carrot/stick.

    It was a Big Bush Blunder.

  • Hi Ruvy, Both Johns and Pablo.

    I am really shocked and pissed off at your Taliban brotherhood theme. How can you people take it so easily. What about the inhumanity they have shown towards the world in their life time?

    They are meant for mass destructions… Will remain that way till completely erased off.

  • John Lake

    Religion is a dangerous thing; Sometimes I think we might do better without it. The Taliban extremists believe in what they do. They see the Westerners as lascivious and immoral. They feel justly offended. Today there was a news article about yet another death threat to a non-Muslim, because of a depiction of the Prophet. They clearly don’t see the discrepancy there, as we do.
    We have to maintain our high standards in dealing with this ongoing threat. We can’t throw it all aside, and go forth blindly hating every Muslim in our path.

  • Well John, I never brought religion to this topic and neither do I want it to be a subject of discussion. I am not in the for of hating Muslim. Rather I like them. I have a lot of Muslim friends even though I am a Hindu. I am just thoroughly against Talibanism.

  • John Lake

    Any mention of religion in this article is strictly for purposes of illustration; not to provoke anger, love, compassion, nor any other emotion. I mentioned that Muslims of many sects see the Western world as having some degree of decadence; we Westerners would do well to take note.
    We see daily increased Islamic presence in Britain, and in South America. Maybe we should consider modifying our morality.

  • I think all pathans have no jewish origin, but some of pathans have really jewish origin, like taliban. You will accept this fact.

    • cat girl

      Not all pashtun are taliban just some in us are and talis comes from other muslim countries 2 mostly arab and some uzbiks and chechens 2 so its wrong 2 lebell us as talibans

  • John Lake

    In considering this matter of intervention in Libya, which is in fact beyond what might be done in an ideal situation, there may be a feeling that we have to maintain involvement in order to protect ourselves and our allies in that part of the world, including Israel/Palestine. If some group overpowers Gadhafi, we can’t be standing at a distance, watching, we have to be right there in the thick of it. It would be wonderful if we could follow legal and what would seem to be moral values, and allow some victor, whoever it might be to control Libya, and the Mediterranean region, and of course the oil.
    At this point is looks as though Gadhafi is incapable of continuing to rule. He has an army of enemies seeking to overthrow him. His speech is incoherent; when he punishes people under his authority, he is irrational, saying they are using hallucinogenic drugs, or are spreading aids, and moral turpitude. His officers do the most unthinkable things that are ever done in the torture of prisoners.
    If as I liberal I find myself surprised by American President Obama’s actions, it is because I don’t see the entire picture.
    We have to protect our allies, our interests, and it is good that we can support democracy in Libya. When the smoke clears, we will be there in the forefront to do just that.

  • petty Ericson,

    I think all pathans have no jewish origin, but some of pathans have really jewish origin, like taliban. You will accept this fact.

    The Pashtun themselves DO NOT claim to be Jews. And they are not. The utter ignorance over who the b’nei yisraél are is astounding.

    There were 12 tribes in ancient Israel. After the death of Solomon, his elders pleaded with his son Rehoboam reHavám to lower the high taxes Solomon levied on the people of his kingdom. Rehoboam raised the taxes instead and ten of the northern tribes rebelled and set up a kingdom in the north – where Samaria is now. The remaining two tribes, yehudá and shim’ón remained under the rule of the descendant of David.

    About 2600 years ago, Assyrian armies conquered and exiled the northern tribes. These are the people who eventually became the Pashtun in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but travelled all the way to China and Japan as well. These Pashtun are the descendants of the ten Northern Tribes, along with some members of the tribe of shim’ón, now known as Shinwari.

    WE JEWS are the descendants of the Southern Tribes, and our religion, Judaism, did not develop as such until our Temple was destroyed and we ourselves were exiled to Babylon/Persia. The Religion of the Israelite People is what Judaism is built on.

    Do yourself a favor and read the extensive comments I have posted above. Those who wrote them know a lot more than you do.

  • hanif khan yousaf zai

    ruvy is right..we are not jews.we are muslims.i am from pakistan and i belong to yousaf zai tribe of pushtoon.from childhood i am hearing from my elders and teachers that we are ban-i-israel
    our prophet [pbuh] also gave some indications about the lost tribes of israel,which all matches to pushtoons.i will not tell about that,becouse you will not believe that,as you are non muslims.

  • Hanif Khan Yousafzai,

    Please feel free to contact me at my e-mail address on the subject of what the Rasul (pbuh), hinted about the Northern Tribes. Go to my blogsite Ruvy’s Roost, and look it up under my personal profile. I’m working on a book about the ties between the Northern Tribes of Israel (the Pashtun) and the Southern Tribes (the Jews), an information like this can be very useful in making linkages.


  • aka

    go to hell Talibans

  • John lake

    #25 aka
    We have in the past few days begun to see a more violent side to some of the Taliban. The world is ever changing, and the future is never easy to see.

  • cat girl

    Im pashtun 2 i believe we are ancient israelities by the way not all of us are bad or talibans