Afghan Christians pledge to Continue God’s Work in the Middle East
According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), Afghan Christians have pledged to continue “God’s work” in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country. In a video published by Global Catalyst Ministries, an Afghan Christian pleads for Christians across the world to not forget the underground church in Afghanistan.
“I don’t know what the future of this country will be,” the Afghan Christian, whose identity was hidden for security reasons, said. “We are not able to control our emotions because we’ve worked so hard for 20 years. All of our work over the past 20 years have been lost overnight. (…) But we are not leaving the field (…) We will fight harder and will continue God’s work.”
Since the U.S. announced its intention to withdraw from Afghanistan on April 13, the Taliban quickly took control of the country. Last week, Taliban forces entered Kabul, effectively asserting complete control of Afghanistan. With the Taliban in power, many Christians fear they will be targeted and severely persecuted.
“We are telling people to stay in their houses because going out now is too dangerous,” a Christian leader in Afghanistan, whose name is being withheld for security reasons, told International Christian Concern (ICC) last week. While a general amnesty has been announced by the Taliban, this leader feared Christians will still be targeted by Taliban fighters patrolling Kabul and other cities.
“Some known Christians are already receiving threatening phone calls,” the Christian leader told ICC. “In these phone calls, unknown people say, ‘We are coming for you’.”
Afghanistan’s Christian community is almost exclusively comprised of converts from Islam. Some estimate the Christian population to be between 8,000 and 12,000, making it one of the country’s largest religious minority groups. However, due to extreme persecution, the Christian community remains largely closeted and hidden from the public eye.
Their status as converts makes Afghan Christians direct targets for persecution by both extremist groups and society in general. In Afghanistan, leaving Islam is considered extremely shameful and converts can face dire consequences if their conversion is discovered.