Recognizing and Funding the Taliban Won’t Help Starving Afghan Christians
10/27/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – This past weekend, Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tried to convince world leaders that the only way to thwart the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is to recognize and negotiate with the Taliban. According to CNN, Chaudhry advocated releasing billions of dollars worth of frozen assets to be given directly to the terrorist entity. With deep ties to the Taliban, Pakistan’s recommendations are suspect.
As reported by the BBC, the Taliban was birthed out of northern Pakistan in the early 1990s after Soviet Troops were removed from Afghanistan. According to PBS, the Taliban seized control of the country in 1995, offering peace and security in a region riddled by drought, starvation, and turmoil. Initially, Afghans welcomed Taliban leadership but quickly realized the decision meant harsh treatment–specifically for women and religious minorities.
Reminiscent of the past, Afghanistan is experiencing a humanitarian crisis and is near a breaking point. The South China Morning Post noted that a combination of violence, drought, the COVID pandemic, and economic conditions created the perfect storm for financial collapse.
As before, the Taliban has promised peace and solutions. However, following the August 31 U.S. withdrawal, Afghanistan spiraled into a full-blown crisis within weeks of the Taliban takeover. Now, there has been a run on the banks, and resources are scarce. The UN recently stated that 14 million Afghans face starvation, and many have sold virtually all they have to feed themselves.
Last week, G20 members pledged 1.2 billion to help stave off the crisis on the condition that funds go directly to organizations offering assistance rather than to the Taliban. The Taliban is under sanctions by most of the world.
The Taliban does not have a proven track record of economic success and has been designated an Entity of Particular Concern (EPC) by the U.S. State Department.
If times were not challenging enough, religious minorities face employment discrimination, verbal threats, and physical harm because Islam is the official religion of Afghanistan. Many Christians are converted from Islam, a crime punishable by imprisonment or death. The U.S. State Department’s 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom says that religious minorities, such as Christians and Hindus, dress in traditional Sunni attire just to avoid being identified. Therefore, the only hope for most religious minorities is NGO support.
ICC believes there were between 8,000 and 12,000 Christians prior to the fall of Kabul. However, current numbers are uncertain due to reports of martyrdom, capture, and fleeing the country.
ICC strongly condemns releasing funds directly to terrorist organizations such as the Taliban and cannot see how doing so would benefit Afghan Christians or any other religious minority within the country. ICC continues to support sanctions against the Taliban and all those with ties to the terrorist organization. It is believed that any monies released to Taliban leaders will be used to further hunt, detain, torture, and kill Christians. Therefore, the U.S. must reject any suggestion of legitimizing and funding the Taliban.
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