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10/18/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – A flight with 353 evacuees on board departed the Kabul airport for Doha, Qatar. Aboard the flight were citizens of the United States, Australia, Netherlands, and Denmark. This was the ninth flight with evacuees to take off from Kabul since August 31. Many of the passengers were faculty, staff, and students from the American University of Afghanistan. The evacuees will remain in Doha until their final destinations are determined.

The flight comes at a time when travel rights and other human rights for Afghans are under threat from the Taliban regime, which is known for its extremist views on Islam and Shariah law and for their harsh treatment of minorities.

An official from Qatar said that they will “continue to work with international partners on efforts that ensure freedom of movement in Afghanistan, including through serving as an active mediator between various parties. We remain focused on providing humanitarian aid to the country and are dedicated to promoting a stable and peaceful Afghanistan moving forward.”

While some people are getting out the country, other at-risk communities, including ones of faith, are left to wonder what the future will hold for them. Christians are a very small portion of the overall population of Afghanistan, numbering between 8,000 and 12,000 in total. Their community is comprised of nearly entirely of converts from Islam, making them apostates in the eyes of the Taliban and subjecting them to Shariah’s deadliest consequences.

The Taliban have a history of severe persecution of Christians and other religious minorities. While the Taliban have appeared eager to portray a different image to the international community, the new reality is beginning to look grim. Harsh treatment of women who protest their rights being taken away and threats to the Christian community have begun a to paint a picture of anything but a reformed Taliban.

The composition of the appointed ‘interim’ government of Afghanistan is anything but moderate. It is filled with hardliners who show no sign of ethnic or religious diversity.

The future remains uncertain for many Afghan Christians. As long as the planes are allowed to leave Afghanistan, the international community must continue to pressure the Taliban to allow all Afghans the right to travel. The international community must also continue to work to facilitate a special immigrant status for Afghan evacuees fleeing the persecution of the Taliban.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].