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August 23, 2021

The Plight of Christians in Afghanistan

There are just a few thousand, but their lives are in grave danger.

Unless you’re an armed member of the Taliban in Afghanistan, your life is likely in danger right now. In particular, Joe Biden’s disastrous retreat put more than 10,000 American citizens at risk, as well as tens of thousands of Afghans who assisted the U.S. over the years. But there’s another group of endangered people that’s often overlooked in Muslim-majority countries: Christians.

In a nation of approximately 38 million, estimates put the number of Christians as at most 12,000. Afghan law forbids conversion to Christianity. In fact, it’s dangerous for anyone even with generational roots to identify as Christian, but that’s especially true for converts from Islam. Enforcement is even more brutal under sharia law, which will be reinstated under the Taliban. Given that reality, there could be many more Christians in Afghanistan than anyone knows. Reports are that “the Taliban are going door to door” and asking for Christians, and it’s not to welcome them to the new Afghanistan.

“There’s a real concern amongst Afghan Christians that targeted killings will start happening because of their status as Christians,” says Will Stark, South Asia regional manager for International Christian Concern. The slaughter of Christians at the hands of Muslim extremists is still playing out in Nigeria. We know the danger is real and imminent.

Some Afghan Christians have appealed to the pope for help fleeing. American media personality Glenn Beck has raised millions of dollars to help. Other organization likewise will do what’s possible, but the situation isn’t conducive to orderly help.

As one Christian who fled Afghanistan after the murder of his parents in the 1990s put it, “I don’t understand why the West left Afghanistan this way after 20 years of sacrifices, of democracy.” In some ways neither do we, but we’re also well acquainted with the unfortunate answer.

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