Christians in Dire Danger in Afghanistan

A member of Taliban stands guard as people walk at the entrance gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021. (Reuters photo)

“As the Taliban tighten their grip on Afghanistan, Release International warns attacks on Christians are likely to rise across the region as the Taliban’s swift advance emboldens extremists. Afghanistan’s major cities have fallen like dominoes before the Taliban, in the drive by the militants to create an Islamic emirate. One church leader in Afghanistan said Christians were living in great fear. Some who worked for the government now face reprisals, and any identified as Christians could be killed. Christians risk betrayal, even from their own family members. A Christian contact of one Release International partner describes the situation as ‘dire.’ Says ‘Micah’: ‘Our brothers and sisters in Christ are telling us how afraid they are. In the areas that the Taliban now control girls are not allowed to go to school and women are not allowed to leave their homes without a male companion.’ To be exposed as a Christian risks being charged with apostasy, which is punishable by death or imprisonment. There have also been honor killings of Christians by their families. In May 2021, the Taliban bombed the Sayed Ul-Shuhada High School in Kabul, killing at least 85, mainly schoolgirls. The previous year the Taliban staged a shooting at a maternity clinic, killing women, children and babies. Thousands of Afghans, including Christians, are seeking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. But the Taliban are growing in influence there, too. Some observers say Pakistan has provided a safe haven for the Taliban and has supplied them with weapons and finance. Before the Afghan president fled, he accused Pakistan of permitting thousands of jihadi fighters to cross its border to support the Taliban.”

“Taliban in Kabul,” Release International, Aug. 16, 2021