Afghan Christians facing higher risk of persecution with Taliban in power
“Credible reports” of ongoing violence committed against Afghanistan’s vulnerable religious communities, including executions and disappearances, suggest that Christians are at “heightened risk” of persecution with the Taliban in power, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has warned.
The USCIRF says in a “factsheet” that religious freedom conditions in Afghanistan are deteriorating since the Taliban took control of the country on Aug. 15, noting that it has “documented and received credible reports of violence including executions, disappearances, evictions, desecration of houses of worship, beatings, harassment, and threats of violence to members of particularly vulnerable religious communities.”
Afghan Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, Baha’is and nonbelievers cannot express their faiths or beliefs openly “because they face dire consequences, including death, if discovered by the Taliban,” the commission added.
The Taliban have gone door-to-door looking for Christian converts, U.S. allies, former government workers and human rights activists, USCIRF says, based on reports. “Christians have received threatening phone calls, while one leader of a house church network received a letter on August 12 from Taliban militants threatening him and his family. Some Christians have turned their phones off and moved to undisclosed locations.”
Afghanistan’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which was reinstated by the Taliban in September, “uses a notoriously violent hardline Islamist policing system,” the factsheet says.