08/20/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – According to the BBC, the Taliban in Afghanistan has stepped up its effort to find individuals who worked with NATO forces and the previous government. Afghan Christians, a persecuted religious minority, fear similar efforts to discover members of their community are also underway.
In a document recently prepared for the United Nations by the RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, the group warned the Taliban were targeting “collaborators” despite promising there would be “no revenge.”
“There are a high number of individuals currently being targeted by the Taliban, and the threat is crystal clear,” Christian Nellemann, who heads the RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, told the BBC. “It is in writing that, unless they give themselves in, the Taliban will arrest and prosecute, interrogate and punish family members on behalf of those individuals.”
For Afghanistan’s Christian community, similar fears have been expressed.
“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) earlier this week. While a general amnesty has been announced by the Taliban, this leader feared Christians would 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.
In many cases, known Christians must flee Afghanistan or risk being killed.
According to the Taliban’s ideology, Afghanistan is a Muslim country, and non-Muslims must leave Afghanistan or accept second-class status. For Christians coming from convert backgrounds, the Taliban will consider them apostate and subject to Sharia’s deadliest consequences.
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