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Herat became the Jewish population center of Afghanistan during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but in recent years activity and participation dwindled and there is currently no organized Jewish life there.Four Synagogues were discovered in Herat during an archaeological expedition in 1978, and two of these synagogues have been recently repurposed as a school for boys and a Muslim house of prayer.
The Pashtun, the main Afghan ethnic group and Taliban supporters, also believe they are descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel , and later converted to Islam.Simintov announced in March 2014 that he was closing his restaurant, citing a decline in business due to the reduction in NATO forces stationed in the country. Early biblical commentators regarded Khorasan as a location of the Ten Lost Tribes.Today, several Afghan tribes including the Durrani, Yussafzai, Afridi and Pashtun believe they are decedents of King Saul.A Jew named Isaac, an agent of Sultan Mahmud (ruled 998–1030), was assigned to administer the sultan's lead mines and to melt ore for him.According to Hebrew sources, vast numbers of Jews lived in Ghazni but while their figures are not reliable, Moses Ibn Ezra mentions over 40,000 Jews paying tribute in Ghazni and Benjamin of Tudela describes "Ghazni the great city on the River Gozan, where there are about 80,000 [8,000 in a variant manuscript] Jews." In Hebrew literature, the River Gozan was identified with Ghazni in Khorasan from the assertion of Judah Ibn Bal'am that "the River of Gozan is that river flowing through the city of Ghazni which is today the capital of Khorasan." Stone tablets with Hebrew inscriptions dating from 1115 to 1215 confirm the existence of a Jewish community in Firoz Koh, located between Herat and Kabul.
Genghis Kahn's 1222 Mongol invasion, however, razed Afghanistan, devastating the Jewish communities.