09/20/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – Amid the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration conducted a drone strike against what it believed was an ISIS-K facilitator. After weeks of denials, it has now been revealed that the strike killed ten innocent civilians, including seven children and an employee of a U.S.-based NGO.
A New York Times investigation soon after the strike recreated the movements of the NGO worker targeted by the strike. That investigation concluded that his movements were nothing out of the ordinary. On Friday, a week after the Times investigation, the U.S. government acknowledged its fault. “The strike was a tragic mistake,” General Frank McKenzie said. “I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed.”
Public criticism over the strike adds to the growing air of disapproval around the Biden administration’s evacuation from Afghanistan. Many at-risk civilians, including a community of roughly 12,000 Christians, were left in tremendous fear of what will happen to them under the brutal rule of the Taliban.
When the withdrawal began, Taliban forces moved rapidly through the country, capturing provincial capitals and territories in a push that culminated in the takeover of Kabul on August 15. The rapid fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government sparked a massive rush to the airport by Afghan nationals and others hoping to escape the Taliban’s coming reign.
Religious minorities remember the late 1990s as the Taliban ruled with a dictatorial grip on the country and pressed against all anti-Taliban elements with brutal enforcement of their version of Shariah law. The Afghan church is largely comprised of converts from Islam who will be considered apostates by the Taliban and will be made subject to sharia’s deadliest punishment.
Christians continue to operate underground in an extremely secretive fashion to avoid drawing undue attention from the Taliban.
The United States and the international community must continue to pressure the Taliban for more human rights in Afghanistan and utilize all relevant diplomatic tools available to them in pursuit of religious freedom for all Afghans.
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