Afghan minister supports Israel ties (JERUSALEM POST) By ORLY HALPERN KABUL 05/18/05)
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A minister from the country that hosted Osama bin Laden has
expressed thanks to American Jews for their economic support,
support for ties with Israel and encouragement toward Afghan Jewish
investment in rebuilding Afghanistan.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Afghan Minister of Women´s
Affairs Massouda Jalal said that Afghanistan supported ties
with "the countries in partnership with the US, and Israel is one of
But Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah told the Post that official
relations between Afghanistan and Israel could start only following
a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
Sitting in her office, Jalal, Afghanistan´s first female
presidential candidate, expressed her gratitude to American
Jews. "There are many Jews in the US and the US is our No. 1
helper," said Jalal. "The Jews in the US, as I have heard, have a
lot of economic power. And the US is helping Afghanistan like they
help their child. The people of Afghanistan realize that. Maybe a
big part of [the help] comes from the Jewish people. We realize they
are working hard in making money and they share money with us and
they want us to live happily and peacefully. All this goodness we
will never forget."
Jalal, a 42-year-old pediatrician and mother of three, covertly
helped women during the oppressive Taliban regime. After the US
invasion of Afghanistan and the removal of the Taliban, Jalal ran
for president against Hamid Karzai.
During the reign of the Taliban, the country was ostracized by other
countries in the world and Jalal plans to change that.
"Now the power is in the hands of the educated," she said, noting
that Afghanistan´s attitude towards Israel is "neutral."
"We are very interested in returning to the folds of the
international community and be respectful of all different
That could mean future relations with Israel. "We have promised to
remain good friends to the US and the countries in partnership with
the US, and Israel is one of those countries," said Jalal.
Jalal expressed great interest in the former Jewish community of
Afghanistan. "What I know I read in the books when I was looking
about minority ethnicities. I found a small percentage was Jewish.
When I [did] research about them, I found out they had a cemetery in
Upon hearing that one Jew still lives in the country she expressed
great interest. "If you find him, please tell him to call my office.
I want to meet him," she said.
Jalal hoped that Jewish Afghans would invest in the rebuilding of
Afghanistan. "We can be good partners for Afghan Jews for rebuilding
and preserving their cultural heritage," she said. "If the Afghan
Jews come back and invest it will help the national economy. It is
their responsibility because it is their country."
Abdullah was more cautious of Jewish investment and relations with
Peace with Israel? "I think: why not?" Abdullah told the Post in an
interview from his office. But there are conditions. "If there is
peace in the Middle East and a two-state solution is materialized I
consider it would be normal."
In the meantime, he said that investment by Afghan-born Jews living
abroad, "is a sensitive issue." He did not encourage visits by
Israeli Afghans. "It is happening but it is not safe." (© 1995-2005,
The Jerusalem Post 05/18/05)
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