Displaying items by tag: Afghanistan
Last week 560 men, women, and children who were on paid flights and ready to evacuate were blocked at the last minute and had to return home. However, over 200 of these persecuted Christians cannot go home. They have nothing but the clothes on their backs and are in imminent danger. Just when things seemed hopeless, God provided a new temporary housing option. Please pray for God to clear the way for these flights to take off and provide safe places of refuge outside Afghanistan. Pray for encouragement for those who were sent home; may the Holy Spirit move in their hearts and remind them they are seen by our Lord. Pray for protection for those who will remain inside Afghanistan, continued provision for their daily needs, and a clear plan for long-term ministry and support.
Many Afghan Christians have fled from cities to remote regions to escape Taliban detection; others are hiding in communities. World Mission’s Greg Kelley learned of a Christian leader caught by the Taliban, who publicly tortured and executed him. Continue to pray for Afghan believers, in hiding and meeting in secret locations. Now, with the borders to neighbouring countries closed, they have nowhere to turn. With winter approaching they face extreme difficulties. It is exceedingly difficult to get aid into Afghanistan to meet their needs. Many want to leave because they are known to the Taliban or other extremists. Ask God to protect them and help mission agencies to arrange for their safe escape. Things are changing dramatically in Afghanistan, and those who suffer the most are the weak and vulnerable. Pray for wise short-term strategies to address the needs of elderly, sick and frail refugees.
Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, the Taliban's notorious former head of religious police and now in charge of prisons, said that extreme punishments will resume but may not be meted out in public, as they were previously. Human Rights Watch said the Taliban in Herat are searching out high-profile women, denying women freedom of movement outside their homes, and imposing compulsory dress codes. Amnesty International blamed Taliban fighters for the cold-blooded massacre of nine members of the Hazara, a minority persecuted people. A Taliban judge said, ‘In our Sharia it is clear, for those who have sex and are unmarried, whether male or female, the punishment is 100 lashes in public. Anyone who is married must be stoned to death. Anyone who steals, his hand should be cut off.’ Mullah Turabi said that the Taliban would now allow televisions, mobile phones, photos and videos.
After raising over $28 million to rescue Afghan Christians, Glenn Beck shares an update. ‘Seven years after the IS blitzkrieg, there is revival in northern Syria. The establishment of Islamic government provides ripe soil for the Church to grow. The Afghan Church is determined to do the same. They are still actively meeting, studying the scriptures together and sharing the gospel. We have heard a report about Christians sharing the gospel with Taliban members who came into their village, and they have actually been engaging in Bible studies and prayer.’ While it is often the sensational reports or heroic action that make headlines, Richardson said Afghanistan's Christians are just real people choosing to live out their faith. ‘They say they are scared. Many of them are in despair, but it is in that weakness that they're still pushing forward and they are finding sweetness in all of it.’ he said.
Ken McCallum, MI5’s director general, warned that the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban is likely to have ‘emboldened’ so-called lone wolf terrorists in the UK. He said that while the terror threat would not change overnight, there could be a ‘morale boost’ for extremists. ‘We need to be vigilant about an increase in inspired terrorism,’ he said. In the past four years a total of 31 late-stage attack plots have been foiled in the UK, including six during the pandemic period. While they were largely Islamic extremist plots, there were also a growing number of attacks planned by extreme right-wing terrorists. He also said, ‘The terrorist threat to the UK, I am sorry to say, is a real and enduring thing.’ Pray for God’s plans for the future security of the UK to be established, and for His wisdom and discernment to flow through everyone working in MI5, border security, internet security, antiterrorism, and military.
80% of Afghanistan's money comes from foreign donations or aid, and the Taliban cannot afford to be ostracised by the world. Their security commander appealed to diplomats, politicians and businesses: ‘Come. Start your work again. No one will hurt you. Diplomatic relations are the right of every country.’ But many are sceptical. Two newspaper journalists were tortured by the Taliban for covering women protesting for more freedom. The journalists were held in separate cells and whipped with cables. They both passed out from intense pain. There are huge weals and extensive bruising on their backs, shoulders, thighs and buttocks. Their editor-in-chief said, ‘These journalists were beaten and tortured for doing their job. We need the international community to stand with us and insist the Taliban are held to account because this will have a terrible impact on media freedom and everyone's freedoms.’
The Taliban is giving American-made military equipment to Iran. A report by Iran International showed images posted on social media of equipment in Tehran and armoured tanks and Humvees being transported towards Tehran. Two of the images were posted by the acting Defense Minister of Afghanistan. Last week Iran offered to resume fuel shipments to Afghanistan to prevent an economic collapse. Basic services like electricity are under threat, and there are food and cash shortages. On September 8th the Taliban showed that it is re-establishing its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with a caretaker government of hard-liner men from the 1990s. The theocratic Taliban core remains unchanged with several members of their governing body listed as terrorists. Few were non-Pashtun. Pray for the Taliban to respect women and minorities rights. See
A convoy of 100+ Christians, including at least fifteen families, will leave Afghanistan to make a new life in Pakistan. It is not a hospitable country for Christians, but Afghanistan has become much worse with the Taliban in charge. Leaders of house churches have already received threatening letters from the Taliban, warning them that they know where they are and what they are doing. They are ‘on a list.’ The convoy is being led by a pastor who serves ten Afghan house churches. He was a Muslim until his life was turned around when someone shared the Gospel with him. The ages of the people in this convoy range from three months to 70 years. There are no buses, no trains running between Afghanistan and Pakistan: so this convoy will be taking, for lack of a better word, taxis. Ask God to give them strength and ask Him to frustrate the plans of any wanting to stop them.
As the Taliban secures its grip on Afghanistan, UN Security Council officials are warning that the militant group is reliant on drug trafficking as its primary sources of financing, and opium poppy production has increased significantly. They also said the problem of production of poppy-based drugs and methamphetamine was ‘unaddressed’ by the Afghan peace process, even though it remains the Taliban’s largest single source of income. Opium has a destabilising and corrupting effect within Afghanistan and contributes significantly to the narcotics challenges facing the wider international community. Taliban financing is also sourced by other criminal activities including extortion, kidnapping for ransom, mineral exploitation, and revenues from tax collection in areas under their control or influence. The UN office of drugs and crime estimates that taxes collected from drug farmers alone were about $14.5 million, while another $46 to $98 million comes in from heroin manufacturing and trafficking.
Incredibly, many believe Afghanistan has the second-fastest growing church in the world, next to Iran. There are reports of Afghan Christians choosing to stay and share the gospel, saying, ‘we don’t care, we’re here because we love this nation, we love our people, and we’re going to share the gospel regardless, even if it means losing our lives.’ In one village that was taken over a few weeks ago, the Christians started sharing Bible stories with the Taliban, some of whom have been studying the Bible and praying. They haven’t made a confession of faith yet but seem very interested. The fearless nature of these believers reminds us of those in the Book of Revelation: ‘They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. They did not love their lives unto death.’ We are seeing this in real time.