Christians trapped in Afghanistan | CII
Source: International press release
Christians in Afghanistan have fled cities to escape the Taliban, according to partners at Release International, which supports persecuted Christians around the world. Many Christians who remain are trapped inside the country, unable to exit through sealed borders.
Some have received death threats. Others fled to remote areas to escape the Taliban. Release is appealing for funds to support Christians forced to flee across the world.
UK-based Release International is concerned about false reports of persecution under the Taliban, which obscure the real challenges facing the remaining Afghan Christians.
Such reports have featured footage of Isis atrocities in Iraq and a protest in Colombia, allegedly filmed in Afghanistan. Even a 2009 rumor of missionaries about to be executed in Iraq has been amplified and applied to Afghanistan.
“Of course there is a lot of fear and rumors,” Release International CEO Paul Robinson said. “This is why we are talking to partners who work directly with the underground church.”
Release International partners with SAT-7 Pars, which broadcasts programs via satellite television in Afghanistan. Paul Robinson adds: “SAT-7 hears directly from its audience what is happening in this country.
SAT-7 Pars Executive Director Panayiotis Keenan told Release International: “Since the Taliban took power, we have received many messages from Afghanistan that the persecution is getting more difficult.
“Afghan Christians contact us daily, describing how difficult the situation is. They hide and meet in secret places. But winter is coming and it will soon become more and more difficult.
A caller sent out a prayer request saying, “Oh Lord God, please protect us, for we are facing hell.”
Another said, “My family and I came to Christ two years ago. My family and I have received death threats. I have no other way but to flee the country. Help us to be heard so that we can escape this hell.
Another messaged on a live broadcast: “The terrorists are occupying us, demolishing what we have. Where can we go? What can we do ? Please continue to pray for us.
Although many Christians managed to leave before the Taliban advanced, it is believed that there are still several thousand in Afghanistan. Even if they wanted to leave, they couldn’t. They have nowhere to go. The borders are controlled by the Taliban and they cannot leave the country.
Pakistan and Iran are the natural escape routes for Afghans fleeing their country. But officially, the Pakistani border is closed to refugees from Afghanistan, and Pakistan and Iran say they have reached their limit of refugees and asylum seekers. Meanwhile, Turkey has redoubled its efforts to build a wall to prevent refugees from Iran from entering.
The UK has pledged to welcome 20,000 Afghan refugees, with priority given to women, children and those who are persecuted. At the same time, the UK government is pushing ahead with a Nationalities and Borders Bill which some, including the UN, believe could criminalize refugees using unauthorized routes to the UK. This would include refugees from Afghanistan.
“An increasing number of Christians around the world are fleeing from extremism,” says Paul Robinson, CEO of Release International. “We are happy to see the UK government prioritizing Afghan refugees who face persecution. Let us continue to do all we can as a country to support those who have been uprooted from their homes because of their faith. They need our welcome and our support. . “
Release International supports Christians around the world who have been forced to flee because of their faith. There has been a huge exodus of Christians from the Middle East since the rise of Isis in Iraq and the spread of Islamist terrorism in the region. Jihadist groups are also gaining ground in Africa, attacking churches and Christian communities in Nigeria and the Sahel.
Liberation calls for support for Christians who have been driven from their homes. Release also supports the families of Christians who have been killed for their faith around the world. Unfortunately, that number is increasing. For more information, please see the link at the end of this report.
Although the Church in Afghanistan has never been large and many Christians have had to flee the country, some draw a parallel with the events in Iran where, under harsh persecution, the Church has multiplied.
Before the Islamic revolution, it was said that there were a few hundred Christians in Iran. Today, despite oppression, the Iranian church is said to be the fastest growing in the world.
“We have a sovereign God and we know he has a plan,” said Panayiotis Keenan. “Come to think of it, you’d say there was no chance for the church in Afghanistan. But we have seen in the last 10 to 15 years how quickly Christianity has developed. If it can happen in Iran, why not in Afghanistan?
Even before the Taliban took control, Afghanistan was one of the countries most hostile to Christians. “The only good thing we can say about this is that the Underground Church is increasingly better equipped to weather the storm,” says Paul Robinson. “The Church is invisible and has already learned to function underground.”
Release International has partnered with various Christian organizations to broadcast programming intended to encourage and equip believers in Afghanistan, including refugees who have now fled to neighboring countries. These partners also produce Christian literature and digital material for discipleship training.
“The support and encouragement over the air, whether through radio, satellite TV or social media, has never been more needed than it is today. The Church must learn to function like the early Church in the book of Acts – under the continuing threat of persecution.
Through its international network of missions, Release International is active in some 25 countries around the world, supporting pastors, Christian prisoners and their families; providing Christian literature and Bibles, and working for righteousness.
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-58283177#:~:text=The%20current%20crisis%20comes%20on, their% 20home% 20in% 20the% 20border of Afghanistan.
International press release
Key words: Afghanistan, Christian Afghan, Taliban, Release International, Paul
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