Taliban Declares Victory After United States Completes Withdraw from Afghanistan
08/31/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – According to The Associated Press, the United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan late on Monday night, ending America’s longest war. While thousands were able to flee Afghanistan through the Kabul airport, now in the hands of the Taliban, officials admit not all who wanted to leave the country were able.
Hours after the final United States troops left, the Taliban triumphantly marched into Kabul’s airport. From the tarmac, Taliban leaders pledged to secure the country, reopen the airport, and grant amnesty to former opponents.
“Afghanistan is finally free,” Hekmatullah Wasiq, a top Taliban official, told The Associated Press. “The military and civilian side (of the airport) are with us and in control. Hopefully, we will be announcing our Cabinet. Everything is peaceful. Everything is safe.”
Since Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15, the Kabul airport was home to chaotic and deadly scenes as thousands of Afghans and foreigners attempted to flee Afghanistan. Last Thursday, ISIS-K attacked the airport and a nearby hotel killing 13 United States soldiers and at least 169 Afghans.
“After 20 years we have defeated the Americans,” Mohammad Islam, a Taliban guard at the airport, told The Associated Press. “They have left and now our country is free. It’s clear what we want. We want Shariah, peace, and stability.”
With the Taliban’s victory now complete, minorities in Afghanistan are bracing for increased persecution, including the country’s small and secretive Christian community.
“Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and religious minorities are at risk of violence and repression,” Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations human rights chief, said last week. According to the Bachelet, the Taliban’s history, and reports of killings in the past few months, support this concern.
According to Amnesty International, the Taliban have already murdered nine Hazara men, a Shia ethnic minority, after taking control of the Ghazni province last month. The Secretary General of Amnesty International, Agnes Callamard, said that the “cold-blooded” killings are a “horrific indicator” of what Taliban rule could bring.
With the Taliban now in power, many Christians fear they will also be targeted and severely persecuted.
“Some known Christians are already receiving threatening phone calls,” the Christian leader told International Christian Concern (ICC) in the days following Kabul’s fall. “In these phone calls, unknown people say, ‘We are coming for you’.”
While ICC has not confirmed any targeted killings of Christians, Release International’s spokesman, Andrew Boyd, claimed at least one Christian has been killed by the Taliban.
“The Taliban have been checking phones to check if there are any bibles downloaded onto their phones,” Boyd told GB News. “We have a report that at least on Hazara has been killed as a result of this.”
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 Shariah’s deadliest consequences.
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