09/15/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – According to Kentucky Today, ministries and other NGO leaders are calling for Christians around the world to be praying for Christians in Afghanistan a month after the country was taken over by the Taliban.
“There is a lot to pray over,” Todd Nettleton, Voice of the Martyrs spokesman, told Kentucky Today. “Many Christians have fled the country, but many others have chosen to stay.”
“We’ve heard reports of the Taliban looking for Christian materials on cell phones,” Nettleton continued. “Those are difficult to verify independently, but we do know the Taliban doesn’t want the Christian church to spread.”
Julie McGowan, a spokeswoman for the International Mission Board, said, “We always ask that you please pray for the people of the area affected by the events. For the people of Afghanistan, pray that God would intervene and glorify His name in this tragic situation.”
“Please pray for Afghan believers whose lives are being threatened,” McGowan continued. “Ask God to give them courage and strength and to help them be a light to those around them.”
On August 15, Taliban fighters entered Kabul in a lightning-fast victory over the former government’s security forces. Last week, the Taliban declared victory in its battle against resistance forces led by Ahmed Massoud in the Panjshir Valley, effectively placing the Taliban in complete control of Afghanistan.
On September 7, the Taliban announced the formation of an interim governing cabinet for Afghanistan. Many in the international community expressed concern over a number of hardliners appointed to positions of power who oversaw the Taliban’s oppressive rule of Afghanistan in the 1990s.
“It’s a dangerous time for our brothers and sisters,” John Weaver, a long-time Gospel worker in Afghanistan, told Nettleton at Voice of the Martyrs. “They are like sheep among wolves. Some have already fled; some are in different locations and hiding. And yet we know that for some, God will call [them] to stay there.”
“The Taliban is on a vengeance,” Weaver continued. “They’re trying to cleanse the land in their strict view of Islam, and a lot of it is directed to our brothers and sisters who we want to be praying for these days.”
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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