Afghans and Jews share common historical suffering and may have more in common than you’d think.
Many freedom fighters in the world know quite well the Afghan landscape from training camps set up during the Soviet invasion in the 1980s.
Nonetheless, some of these freedom fighters became the greatest terrorists who would later create the Taliban. Although it may sound strange, when taking into consideration that these nations are totally different, a person cannot ignore the simple fact that they both have a common history of suffering and persecution.
Of course the Holocaust is uniquely gruesome in that unlike other genocides, Jews were singled out for elimination specifically because they were Jews. However the Jewish community can understand the hard life and plight of the Afghans, perhaps better than other groups.
Afghanistan historically suffered many invasions, the most recent and well-known from the Soviet Union and the United States. In December 1979 the Soviets captured the Afghan capital Kabul, and took control over wide areas of the country, spreading destruction everywhere.
Afghan warriors known as the “mujahideen” fought against the Soviets for years, until Moscow withdrew its troops in 1988. Soon after, civil war started between rival Afghan factions which ultimately led to the Taliban regime in 1994. From 1994-2001, the Taliban justified massacres and human rights abuses against Afghan society by claiming to promote Islamic law. After the Taliban fell, the Americans invaded, and the destruction didnt’ stop. A low-level war ensued which continues to this day.
While an estimated 2 million Afghans have perished during the past several decades, 6 million Jews were murdered by the policies of Nazi Germany from 1933-1945.
Yasmin Eliaz is a Master’s student in Political Science at Bar Ilan University. She specializes in Afghanistan and works as a research assistant at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.