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Taliban Officials Visit Turkey to Discuss Strengthening Diplomatic Ties with Afghanistan

Turkish President Erdoğan says “Turkey has no problem with the Taliban’s beliefs”; Hamas also ready to further bilateral relations.
Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi speaks to media after their meeting with officials of Turkish Red Crescent in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 15, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Cagla Gurdogan)
Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi speaks to media after their meeting with officials of Turkish Red Crescent in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 15, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Cagla Gurdogan)

By All Arab News Staff | November 16, 2022

Taliban Deputy Minister of Information and Culture Zabihullah Mujahid and a delegation of Afghanistan officials visited Turkey last month to meet with various foreign leaders, including senior members of the Hamas terrorist organization.

During the meeting, Mujahid recognized Turkey as a “close friend” and thanked Ankara for the aid it provided following the recent natural disasters in Afghanistan. He also asked participants from various Middle Eastern countries – Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Libya – to “make efforts to ensure the official recognition of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan by other Muslim countries.”

The purpose of the visit was to attract “investment, aid, and economic mobility” for Afghanistan, according to a statement released by the Taliban. However, the meeting was likely the Taliban’s attempt to find favor with Turkey’s allies with the hope of persuading Ankara to establish full diplomatic ties with Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

During the visit, the Taliban spokesman attended the annual Islamic Scholars Meeting, which is affiliated with the Free Cause Party, a Turkish-Hezbollah political coalition.

Mujahid commended the meeting attendees, noting that Islamic scholars led the ranks of the jihad against the enemy in Afghanistan and that, because of them, the victory in 2021 was made possible. He also stated that scholars should establish good relations and unite with the Islamic world because “it is the duty of scholars to spread the religion of Islam.”

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also met with Mujahid, as did other members of the Gaza-based terrorist organization. The two allegedly discussed “several regional issues,” including the latest developments in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Both sides “stressed” the need to further bilateral relations including uniting the Ummah (Muslim community) “alongside the cause of Palestine,” according to Hamas.

Shortly after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in 2021, Turkey re-established its diplomatic presence by opening its embassy in Kabul. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a warm gesture to the new regime, said that “Turkey has no problem with the Taliban’s beliefs. I think we can get along better.”

Hamas established cyber-warfare and counterintelligence operations in Istanbul, mainly focusing on targeting identified enemies, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States, according to a reference in an al-Arabiya article.

The Hamas terrorist organization has expressed support for the Taliban in the past. Following the 2021 departure of U.S. Forces from Afghanistan, Haniyeh phoned Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, who now serves as Afghanistan’s first deputy prime minister, and congratulated him on ending the U.S. “occupation,” saying it was “a prelude to the demise of all occupation forces, foremost of which is the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

While Ankara has never officially recognized the Taliban as a legitimate and lawful government, Hamas fundraising and military efforts in Turkey have been extensive. In addition, the Taliban has shown support for Palestinian causes, while explicitly saying it would not establish diplomatic ties with Israel.

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