Release International, a Christian charity closely monitoring the Afghanistan situation, said that it fears that persecution will become even more harsh now that the Taliban has taken over the nation.
On August 16, 2021, the Taliban confirmed that it had taken over the majority of the government buildings in Kabul leading to the desperate flight of thousands of citizens to airports.
According to Andrew Boyd, press officer of Release Internations, “Even before the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, the country has been going up the ranks of the most difficult countries in the world to be a Christian.”
Boyd added, “Iif you try to change your faith from being a Muslim to Christian in Afghanistan, that’s apostasy. You can be sentenced to death or imprisoned for doing that.”
Even before the Taliban takeover took place, Christian churches have already been experiencing pressure forcing them to go underground.
The spokesperson thinks that women will play a key role in keeping churches alive in the country because their roles have changed significantly in the past few years. More women have become more educated than men which is why Boyd thinks they can contribute more to underground churches in the country.
A Christian contact of one Release International partner described the situation as “dire”.
“Our brothers and sisters in Christ are telling us how afraid they are. In the areas that the Taliban now control girls are not allowed to go to school and women are not allowed to leave their homes without a male companion.”
The takeover took place soon after the US and Nato troops were withdrawn from the country.
A church leader in Afghanistan said that Christians are now living in great fear. Some of them are people who worked for the government and are in danger of reprisals and persecution.
Another report from the charity said that many of the Christians in the country who were formerly Muslims cannot flee the country because of their poverty.
Release International CEO Paul Robinson is asking for prayers for Afghanistan. He also called for the strengthening of radio ministry in the country and said that it was the “only ray of hope.”