The Gaza-based Islamist militant group Hamas congratulated the Taliban for the U.S. “defeat” in Afghanistan in a statement Monday and said “the demise of the American occupation” proves the Palestinian independence movement will also be victorious.
President Joe Biden announced in April that U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11 in a bid to end the longest war in U.S. history. But the exit unfolded in chaotic fashion as the Taliban advanced across the country and captured Kabul over the weekend, leading to the declaration of a new government as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other leaders fled the country.
“We congratulate the Muslim Afghan people for the defeat of the American occupation on all Afghan lands, and we congratulate the Taliban movement and its brave leadership on this victory, which culminated its long struggle over the past 20 years,” Hamas said in a statement.
“While Hamas wishes the Afghan Muslim people and its leadership success in achieving unity, stability and prosperity for Afghanistan and its people, it stresses that the demise of the American occupation and its allies proves that the resistance of the peoples, foremost of which is our struggling Palestinian people, will achieve victory,” the statement continued.
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) August 16, 2021
Hamas is designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization. Its praise of the Taliban, another Islamist militant group, comes after the leaders of several Middle East countries issued similar statements congratulating the Taliban.
Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi said the U.S. withdrawal is “an opportunity to restore life, security and durable peace” after roughly 20 years of fighting, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Report: China Prepares To Recognize Taliban As The New Government In Afghanistan)
Oman’s Grand Mufti Ahmad bin Hamad al-Khalili congratulated the Taliban in a tweet Monday for “the clear victory and the grand conquering of the aggressor invaders,” describing the takeover as a “fulfillment of God’s sincere promise.”
Musa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, tweeted Sunday that the Taliban “was not deceived by the slogans of democracy and elections and fake promises.” He added the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan “is a lesson for all oppressed people.”
Hamas’s praise for the Taliban also comes after the two groups further formalized relations in May. Hamas released images of its political bureau chairman, Ismail Haniyeh, meeting with a Taliban delegation in Doha, Qatar.
Hamas leadership in a meeting with Taliban leadership in Qatar after the recent war between Israel and Gaza last May pic.twitter.com/8EBijaH9QV
— Gal Berger גל ברגר (@galberger) August 16, 2021
A Gaza-based journalist at the meeting said the Taliban delegation “congratulated” Hamas on its “victory” in the border dispute with Israel earlier in May, The Jerusalem Post reported. The journalist also said increased cooperation between Hamas and the Taliban is likely after the “liberation” of Afghanistan.