Afghanistan’s final Jew leaves after Taliban takeover


The final member of Afghanistan’s Jewish group has left the nation following the Taliban takeover, an Israeli-American businessman who organised his evacuation advised AFP on Thursday.

Zebulon Simentov started his journey out of Afghanistan on Friday and arrived in a “neighbouring nation” Wednesday, mentioned Moti Kahana, who runs a US-based personal safety agency.

For many years, Simentov refused to depart Afghanistan — surviving a Soviet invasion, lethal civil battle, brutal rule by the Taliban and the US-led occupation of his homeland.

Having already endured the Taliban’s regime from 1996 to 2001, Simentov was reluctant to go when Kahana’s safety group arrived 10 days earlier than his departure.

“At the moment, he didn’t wish to come out,” mentioned Kahana, who defined to Simentov that he was liable to being killed by Islamic State-Khorasan militants.

“However he listened and I believe he got here to the conclusion himself,” Kahana recalled.

Simentov requested Kahana if they may additionally take his “greatest good friend” and their youngsters, so 29 neighbours joined him on the journey out.

Kahana mentioned that Simentov has household in New York and plans to hitch them there quickly, hopefully across the Yom Kippur vacation subsequent week.

Additionally learn: Afghanistan’s final Jew eyes exit forward of Taliban return

“He is undoubtedly coming,” Kahana added.

Born within the Nineteen Fifties within the western metropolis of Herat, Simentov moved to Kabul throughout the Soviet invasion within the early Nineteen Eighties for the capital then relative stability.

Over the a long time, all Simentov’s family left — together with his spouse and two daughters.

He continued to mark Jewish new 12 months Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at Kabul’s solely synagogue.

“I’ve resisted. I’ve made the faith of Moses proud right here,” he advised AFP throughout an interview earlier this 12 months.

Jews lived in Afghanistan for greater than 2,500 years, with tens of 1000’s as soon as residing in Herat, the place 4 synagogues nonetheless stand — testimony to the group’s historical presence.

However they’ve steadily left the nation because the nineteenth century, with many now residing in Israel.

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