As the Taliban continues to gain control of Afghanistan following the pullout of U.S. troops, an underground Christian leader, who goes by the name “Pastor X,” warns that “the situation is dire.”
“Our people are on the move, running from house to house and city to city to avoid getting caught,” the pastor wrote in an update to Global Catalytic Ministries. “Unfortunately, many Afghans are calling out the location of people in hiding to gain favor with the Taliban. … Our people … are witnessing women and girls being taken from their homes as prizes for the Taliban and being raped. … They have names of people who have converted to Christianity and are aggressively searching them out.”
In an effort to conceal their locations, many Afghan Christians are turning off their mobile devices hoping they won’t be tracked. There have also been reports of the Taliban executing anyone found with Bible software installed on their cell phones.
Kelsi Zorzi, director of advocacy for global religious freedom at ADF International, estimates that there are between 10,000 and 12,000 Christians in Afghanistan, with the majority of them having converted from Islam to Christianity—a crime punishable by death under Sharia law.
Although several countries have expressed a willingness to evacuate Afghanistan’s religious minorities, government officials are finding it increasingly hard to locate those in hiding.
In his update, Pastor X pointed out that Afghanistan didn’t just suddenly become dangerous for Christians; it’s always been so.
In fact, earlier this year, the Open Door 2021 World Watch List ranked Afghanistan the second worst country for persecution, eclipsed only by North Korea. And the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended Afghanistan be placed on a Special Watch List in its most recent report.
“This crisis … has put a global spotlight on what has been the normal Christian experience for believers in Muslim nations,” said Pastor X. “Yet the underground church continues to thrive, even though the problems are dire and the outcome seems grim. We carry the unrivaled hope of the Gospel that continues to prove what our enemies intend for evil will always work for our good and God’s glory. Where governments, politics and military efforts have failed, the Kingdom of God will flourish and the Gospel will advance. God does His greatest work in our darkest hour.”
Above: Afghan refugees wait for evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 22.
Photo: Planetpix/Alamy Live News