The Taliban and Jews may share common ancestry

Israel funds research to explore possible genetic link

Politically, there are few groups as different and as diametrically opposed as the Taliban and the Jews. But when it comes to genetics, the two may be much closer than you’d think. At the behest of Israel, Indian geneticist Shahnaz Ali has been asked to investigate the possible connection between a lost tribe of Israel and the Afridi Pathans, based in the Lucknow region of India. The research, funded for the first time by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, seeks to explore a long-standing theory that the Afghanistan’s Pashtun fighters—and the Taliban—are descendents of the Pathans. The Pathans are thought to be descendents of the Ephraim tribe, one of the 10 Israelite tribes, who purportedly settled in India after being ousted from Israel by Assyrian invaders in 721 B.C.E. If Ali’s research validates this belief, says Navras Aafreedi, a researcher in Indo-Judaic studies, it could “have interesting ramifications for Muslim-Jew relations in particular and the world at large.”