07/01/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – According to Vision Christian Radio, Christians living in Afghanistan are calling for prayer as international forces prepare to withdraw from the country. Many Christians fear the withdrawal of international forces will spell a return of the Taliban’s repressive rule and increased persecution.
The United States and NATO allies have decided to completely withdraw from Afghanistan by September 2021. With no peace agreement between the Taliban and the current Afghan government in place, many fear the withdrawal of international forces will lead to the Taliban retaking control of the country.
As the withdrawal of international forces approaches, the Taliban has already increased its control across the country to 104 districts. Vision Christian Radio reports that targeted killings in the country have increased.
Afghanistan’s Christian community is almost exclusively comprised of converts from Islam. This status as converts makes them direct targets for persecution by extremist groups, such as the Taliban and ISIS-K, openly operating in Afghanistan.
According to Open Doors, “It is impossible to live openly as a Christian in Afghanistan. Leaving Islam is considered shameful, and Christian converts can face dire consequences if their new faith is discovered. Either they must flee the country, or they will be killed.”
Open Doors ranks Afghanistan second on its World Watch List. The only country to outrank Afghanistan in Christian persecution is North Korea. According to Open Doors, persecution in Afghanistan “is only very slightly less oppressive than in North Korea.”