Afghanistan is in the midst of what the UN has called the worst humanitarian crisis in history. Even as over 30 million Afghans face acute or emergency-level food insecurity, the Taliban is going door to door to enforce its fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia law. The UN recently reported that 95% of Afghan households are failing to get enough to eat. Before the Taliban took over, 40% of Afghanistan’s GDP came from foreign aid.
An unwelcome minority in the country, Afghan Christians are at particular risk in the context of a crumbling Afghanistan. They have long faced social challenges, such as employment discrimination, and now must deal with a government run by a terrorist organization. And as Afghanistan experiences economic collapse under Taliban rule, Christians are increasingly facing severe financial hardship on top of religious persecution.
Afghanistan is recently back under the control of the Taliban—a radical Sunni Muslim terrorist organization designated an Entity of Particular Concern (EPC) by the U.S. Department of State “for engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.” Afghan Christians and other marginalized groups have experienced extreme acts of religious persecution since the U.S. withdrew from the nation at the end of August 2021. There have been numerous reports of Christians fleeing, hiding, and being arrested or killed for their faith.
Even as Afghan Christians face an onslaught of persecution, the U.S. and others in the international community are turning a blind eye to their struggle. Sadly, the world has afforded Afghan Christians very few escape routes, and though private organizations have rushed in to help escape Afghan Christians, their efforts are limited by current U.S. legislation. The policies discussed below are intended to help the Biden Administration and Congress address the Afghan refugee crisis in a way that pays appropriate attention to those experiencing religious persecution.