On Monday, the United States pulled out the last of its troops from Afghanistan, ending the twenty-year war in the region.
This followed the swift and stunning Taliban takeover on August 16, raising concerns among members of the worldwide church that Christians in the already repressive country had been issued a virtual death sentence.
While valiant efforts on the part of private charities to airlift the vulnerable Christians out of Afghanistan yielded enormous fruit, there are still followers of Christ still in their home country either willingly or for lack of any other option.
Before the Taliban takeover, the nation was already ranked second-worst in the world to be a Christian by Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, with Christians facing harassment and violence and the preaching of the gospel being banned by the now-deposed government.
Now, there have been chilling reports of Taliban fighters targeting known Christians and even going door-to-door executing followers of Jesus.
Speaking from a safe house in Kabul, one at-risk brother told CBN News that he and his companions are forced to sleep in shifts, taking turns walking around and praying, ready to sound the alarm should the Taliban come knocking.
“We had many plans for preaching the gospel with other brothers and sisters but then the Taliban took control so quickly, it happened so fast,” Sarah, an Afghan Christian leader, told the news outlet.
The Christians, who have no passports or U.S. government-issued papers to exit, have already been identified by the murderous militants.
“Every day I receive a phone call, from a private number, and the person – a Taliban soldier – warns me that if he sees me again, he’ll behead me,” a man identified with the pseudonym “Jaiuddin” said.
Meanwhile, the new regime is quickly re-establishing Sharia law and has made clear that the country will be distinctly Islamic. Afghanistan is 99.7% Muslim.
“Afghans are Muslims and they will not neglect Islam, they have sacrificed for the last 43 years for Islam,” the Taliban’s minister of education Abdul Baqi Haqqani has said. “In the educational system, wherever there is anything that conflicts with Islam, it will be removed.”
Jaiuddin says while he is not afraid to die for Christ, he and his brothers and sisters are nonetheless earnestly praying for personal safety and national peace.
“We are praying for each other that the Lord would put his angels around our house for our protection and safety,” he told CBN. “We are also praying for peace for everyone in our country.”
We pray with our brethren amid this tumultuous time for what is already a notoriously dangerous country for followers of Christ.
May the Lord bless them, keep them, protect them, and use them for the furtherance of the Gospel of peace.
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