David Curry, CEO of Global Christian Relief, which seeks to uncover Christian persecution and advocates for believers across the globe, is sounding the alarm about the dire situation in Afghanistan 18 months after U.S. forces abruptly left the beleaguered nation. “The Taliban seized control of the government,” he said. “It’s been 18 months of the Taliban returning to a very draconian, medieval rule.” Curry continued, “Their theology drives the way they see the world. It’s a medieval interpretation of Islam. Women can’t go to school, can’t hold jobs, females’ faces are covered.” And that’s not all. Curry said there are “extreme, bizarre, brutal punishments” being waged against anyone who challenges Islam or the Taliban, with other extremist groups like the Islamic State trying to push the Taliban to even more depraved behaviour. With America’s rapid exit in August 2021, the nation has fallen into total chaos, leaving Christians and other minority groups in a dire situation.
“Christians and religious minorities within Afghanistan face enormous persecution,” Curry said, noting many believers have escaped and left. “The Christians that remain are underground, are on the run, and we can’t just look at this cut-and-run strategy as a long-term solution.” Curry said Christians across the globe have to turn attention to an important reality: while much of the effort has been focused on helping believers flee Afghanistan, there needs to be a new shift in strategy. “We’ve got to start thinking about what we can do to help get Christians stabilized in the country, and maybe even think about how can we go into this country, this difficult area, and try to build the church and try to build our influence in the name of Jesus.” Curry also encouraged prayer for persecuted Christians stuck in Taliban-controlled areas. But he kept returning to his call to build up the church there. “A lot is going on that’s both brutal and bizarre,” Curry said.
“We need to do everything we can to strengthen the church” Curry continued. He believes America has a central role to play in calling out the Taliban government and adding Afghanistan to the U.S. Department of State’s Countries of Particular Concern list, a designation targeting nations restricting or complicit in religious freedom violations. Curry’s comments are certainly noteworthy, as others have said they believe Christianity could grow exponentially in Afghanistan. Release International, a U.K.-based group monitoring Christian persecution, marked the first anniversary of the Taliban’s harsh rule with a news release indicating its belief that, despite severe and even deadly restrictions, Christianity could exponentially expand. Despite noting “the persecution of Christians is continuing unabated,” Release International also stated that “there are early signs that the Christian faith could be growing among Afghans despite, or because of violent persecution.”
Life under Taliban rule has been brutal, and even deadly, especially for Christians who are persecuted for rejecting Islam. The examples of pain, poverty, and persecution are ceaseless. An Afghan woman spoke last year under a pseudonym for fear of retribution, claiming the Taliban were going “door-to-door” in Afghanistan, snatching up young girls, and killing Christians “on the spot.” This chaos and consternation has reportedly left young Afghans looking for answers. Shoaib Ebadi, president of Square One World Media, a Christian media organization, told Voice of the Martyrs these questions could lead young people to seek other options, like Christianity. “They are eager to hear about new things because their way of life that has continued for centuries has not brought peace or forgiveness, and the people are not prospering,” Ebadi said. “It’s always fighting and revenge. They are questioning everything: their own faith, their past, their present, their future.”
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