09/14/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – According to Mission Network News (MMN), underground ministries are losing contact with their networks stuck inside Afghanistan, now ruled by the Taliban. This comes at a time when Afghan Christians are at an increased risk of persecution.
“He was with us for the last few months,” Nehemiah, from FMI, told MMN about a man named Abdar. “He is from Afghanistan, studying in Pakistan, and he said last month that he was going to Afghanistan for evangelism purposes. It’s been more than a week since we have been unable to hear from him. We have lost contact.”
Since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in mid-August, many ministries working with the country’s underground church have been trying to evacuate at-risk Christians. In many cases, however, ministries have lost contact with their networks and partners in the country.
According to MMN, Afghanistan has very little in the way of an organized church. Many Christian communities are extremely secretive and remain underground due to widespread oppression and persecution.
FMI reports that the Taliban is keeping a close eye on Christians, even sending them threatening letters warning them not to meet.
“One man received a letter saying his house now belongs to the Taliban,” Nehemiah told MMN. “He’s a simple man who makes crafts, and his entire savings are in his house. The Taliban will take the property and the assets of Christians.”
With the Taliban in power, other Christians fear they will also be targeted and severely persecuted.
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.
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.
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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