Could the Taliban be genetically linked to the Jews? - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Could the Taliban be genetically linked to the Jews?

Scientists research the genetic link between the Indian, Afghani Pathans tribe and the lost tribes of Israel.

By Haaretz Service
Published 16:17 14.01.10

Israel has asked an Indian geneticist to study the link between the Indian Pathans tribe and certain tribes of Israel, the Times of India reported this week.

Geneticist Shahnaz Ali has been asked to study the link between the Afridi Pathans, based in the Lucknow region of India, and certain tribes of Israel who migrated across Asia thousands of years ago.

Ali is based in Haifa where she is working in collaboration with Israel's prestigious university the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.

Some experts attribute Israel's decision to fund the research to a theory supported by many that Afghanistan's Pashtun fighters, the community from which the Taliban draw their strength, are descendants of Afridi Pathans.

This is not the first time speculations of a deep rooted connection between the two seemingly unrelated people have been raised, yet this is the first time Israel's Foreign Ministry has offered to fund the research.

Ali has been genetically analyzing blood samples of the Afridi Pathans of Malihabad which she collected earlier to confirm their Jewish origin.

In an interview with the Times of India, Dr. Navras Aafreedi, a researcher in Indo-Judaic studies and one of the first proponents of the common-origin theory in India said "Shahnaz's research would be important if it does establish the genetic link between Pathans and Jews, as it could be seen as a scientific validation of a traditional belief about the Israelite origin of Pathans and can have interesting ramifications for Muslim-Jew relations in particular and the world at large."

The Pahtans in India are believed to be descendants of the Ephraim tribe, one of the 10 Israelite tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel who were exiled by Assyrian invaders in 721 B.C.E.

Some descendants of these lost tribes are said to have settled in India between 1202 C.E. and 1761 C.E., Afridi Pathans of Malihabad being one of them.

"Malihabad in Lucknow district is the only Pathan, or Pashtun, territory safely and easily accessible to those interested in the probable Israelite origins of Pathans. It is certainly not possible to collect DNA samples in Afghanistan or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, where most of the Pathans or Pashtuns live," Aafreedi said.

There are few Pathans left in India, primarily at places like Malihabad near Lucknow and Qayamganj in Farrukhabad, all of whom Aafreedi approached for the academic research.

According to Aafreedi, the Afridi Pathans in India, even though they claim Israeli origin, are just as hostile and antagonistic towards Israel as Muslims anywhere else in the world.


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  • 20.
    Well duh, most of the Arabs and most of the Jews are all the offspring of Abraham, so of course there will be a genetic link. Indeed, all humanity is the offspring of Noah, and before him, Adam. So what? Cain and Abel were brothers, and you see how that turned out.
  • 19.
    The Patans have many, many Jewish religious traditions and in fact a lot of them do look Jewish!! It wouldn't surprise me if the DNA tests show that they are Israelites.
  • 18.
    "truth" Fascinating article - thank you
  • 17.
  • 16.
    That is a belief of the followers of Mirza Ahmad who proclaimed that he was the messiah, krishna, jesus, mahdi etc Mirza ahmad was a punjabi not a pathan
  • 15.
    Taliban means students and in this context it means students of Islamic studies. however, has it occured to you where the name Khyber Pass came from??
  • 14.
  • 13.
    The first time I saw some Taliban fighters on the news i knew right away they were can see it in their faces and eyes...jewdar,you know...and "taliban" probably comes from "talisman" or those who wear talis. I understand they also have some ancient judaic symbols in their theory is that they were a lost tribe that was forcibly converted to islam a la the spanish inquisition style conversion to christianity method..i would not be suprised if jews and indians are related somehow given both peoples' intellectual capacities..just a thought.
  • 12.
    The Afghan monarchy trace their roots to king Saul and the tribe of Benjamin. The Pachtun have a tribe called Yosefzeh which means sons of Joseph.Ephraim! and Benjamin. Saul dies and worse! Just read the Tanach to recall the difficult fate of the tribe of Benjamin. Not all Pashtun are Taliban. Not all Afreedi are Taliban. Not all NY Jews are left of center or Haredi. Simple ideas fall into big pits and drag us with them. Dr Navras Aafreedi also studied in Israel and is an unabashed zionist. Navras' doctorate studies included a query as to how the Afreedi Pachtun would respond if they knew that they were related to jews by genetic studies. It makes a difference. Taliban are not traditional Pachtun; they are a wahabi breakaway. Traditional Pachtun practice Pashtunwali and are commonly despised by arabs who call them dirty Jews. The US military invasion was indebted to non Pachtun military with their own agenda. Dr Jack Zeller President Emeritus, Kulanu
  • 11.
    I will wear a kippa and put on tefillin...but I am not going to put a diaper on my head.
  • 10.
    Anyone trying to investigate a possible genetic link between any population of the world and the Jewish 'people' should read the dissertation of Avshalom Zoosman-Diskin first. His conclusions are that the different Jewish populations of the world are first and foremost related to the people of the region in which reside. Intermarriage and large-scale conversion have destroyed a clear link between the different Jewish populations among themselves, if there ever was one. (Morokkan Jews being indistinguishable from Berbers, Ethiopian Jews being indistinguishable from Ethiopians, Dutch Jews being indistinguishable from the Dutch etc). So what do people believe they will find in case of the these Afgan tribes? They are first and foremost related to the Pashtuns of course.
  • 9.
    And the head and Rabbis over the centeries saw to it they never return so that those of Judah's decendants keep Jacob's inheritance to Ephraim for themselves. However, it will come to pass that the decendants of the two tribes will unite to save Israel in times to come for which will be shared among all Jacob's tribes and peace will rein for some thousand years and in order to fullfill this will come a great and wise man whose bloodline will have both Judah and Ephraim. Stranger things have happened!
  • 8.
    Considering the Bene Menashe, as well, have traditions that have their roots in Israelite customs, with their own account of being liberated from slavery by the Chinese, as well as resistance to the Mission when they tried to convert them into Christians. Aliyah is their way of getting out from under that pressure. Okay, the Taliban are kinda extreme about their Islam, so when some of their customs are different, and even close to Jewish, it's treading on sensetive territory. Could be the same way Crypto-Jews in New Mexico like to keep their identities to themselves lest the official Roman Catholic authorities give them trouble, the Afridar put on this very Moslem exterior for the same reason.
  • 7.
    I don't think as a Russian with parents who worship Judiasm... I am linked to the children of Abraham. I am genetically linked to generations of Siberians. I spent three years in the IDF before coming to America, not because of a zionist philosphy, but because Israel took me in and asked for my service in exchange. I fought for my friends, my squad, my platoon, nothing more or less.
  • 6.
    The Tribe of Ephraim. In 930 BCE the tribe of Ephraim led the ten northern tribes in a successful revolt against the south & established the kingdom of Israel. Assyrian conquerors overran the kingdom in 721 BCE dispersing some of the inhabitants & gradually assimilating others,occurrences that account for the eventual disappearance of the tribe of Ephraim along with the nine other tribes.They have become to be known as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Researchers have for a long time seen evidence of inscriptions in Hebrew markings & customs unrelated to the local population. There's no doubt that some were carried off across the Hindu Kush mountains,in Afghanistan and its vicinity. Cut off from its roots,& as time passed by,they really became one of the lost tribes. Some even claim that many were the descendents of King Saul,who stood tall among his people. Samuel 1
  • 5.
    definetly not he leadership side but the brutal monstrous side of him.
  • 4.
    That's when the US Economy will recover to about the 1970 Level. Let's NOT be related to the Taliban. Okay? Use Common Sense people!
  • 3.
    Many Mormons also believe that they are descendants of the Tribe of Ephraim. Interesting coincidence?
  • 2.
    Everybody who is a descendant of that land is genetically connected. The Jews got converted first, then some of the ones who were not converted and some of the converted Jews became Christians. Later on, some of the unconverted to either, some of the converted Jews and some of the converted Christians became Muslims. Here you are all genetically some how related and killing each other.
  • 1.
    Oh, cheer up! :-)