08/25/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – According to CNN, the Taliban announced they would no longer allow Afghan nationals to travel to the Kabul airport to be evacuated. This statement comes as thousands of ‘at-risk’ Afghans, including Afghan Christians, attempt to flee the country.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that while foreign nationals could continue traveling to the airport, the huge crowds of Afghans that have gathered near the airport should return home.
“The road, which goes to the airport, is blocked,” Mujahid said. “Afghans cannot take that road to go to the airport, but foreign nationals are allowed to take that road to the airport.”
“We are not allowing the evacuation of Afghans anymore, and we are not happy with it either,” Mujahid added.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Taliban’s statement should not impact the Afghans who are prioritized by the United States to leave the country. In a statement regarding the evacuation of Afghan nationals, Paski stated, “Our expectation, which we have also conveyed to the Taliban, is that they should be able to get to the airport.”
Among the thousands of ‘at-risk’ Afghans attempting to flee the country is the small and secretive Afghan Christian community. Since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban last week, this community has been under threat.
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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