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Afghan Minorities Struggle in the Wake of Looming Humanitarian Disaster

09/17/2021 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan, called on the international community to give time to the newly formed government of Afghanistan in terms of human rights. He also made appeals for humanitarian aid for the people of Afghanistan.

The new hardline Taliban government of Afghanistan has not appointed a single woman to the cabinet. The appointments signal to the world that pluralism is not one of the priorities of the Taliban. The government includes several individuals who are connected to the killing of U.S. personnel as well as other human rights violations. The appointments were heavily criticized by the international community and left it with little confidence in a reformed Taliban.

As the new government takes power, the economy of Afghanistan, which was largely supported by foreign aid, has entered freefall. Reports are emerging of price surges, food scarcity, and other hardships. One in three Afghans does not know where their next meal is going to come from. The imminent hunger crisis will have a significant impact on the country.

“The Taliban hold all of Afghanistan, and if they can sort of now work towards an inclusive government, get all the factions together, Afghanistan could have peace after 40 years,” Khan said. “But if it goes wrong, and which is what we are really worried about, it could go to chaos. The biggest humanitarian crisis, a huge refugee problem.”

Khan also took aim at the U.S., criticizing the former U.S.-backed government of Afghanistan. “No puppet government in Afghanistan is supported by the people,” he said. “So rather than sitting here and thinking that we can control them, we should incentivize them. Because Afghanistan, the current government clearly feels that without international aid and help, they will not be able to stop this crisis. So we should push them in the right direction.”

Reports have already surfaced of the Taliban hunting down religious minorities and others critical of the new regime. The Taliban have also clamped down on protestors calling for women’s and other human rights. The Taliban’s actions indicate the actualization of a hardline approach to governance and send a clear message to minority communities within the country.

Many fear the return to the horrors of the Taliban government’s oppressive rule of the 1990s, where brutality against minorities was the norm. Before the U.S.-led invasion, the Taliban governed via an unelected leadership council that enforced the group’s brutal and fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia law. Many hoped for a reformed Taliban, but recent events have eradicated any such hope.

For Afghanistan’s Christian community, the Taliban rule will increase persecution and hardship. As converts from Islam, Afghan Christians will likely be treated as criminals under the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law and subject to Sharia’s deadliest consequences.

ICC’s Director of Advocacy, Matias Perttula, said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan is correct about the looming humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan but wrong about giving time to allow basic human rights for Afghan citizens. It’s preposterous to suggest that allowances should be made for the Taliban to give them time to continue a radical hardline agenda against women, religious minorities, and others and hope that one day they may change. If the Taliban truly care about Afghanistan, let them display to the international community that human rights matter and that all Afghans are equal regardless of their religious practice, ethnic origin, or gender.”

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