Last year, a terrible drought stunted agricultural output in Afghanistan. This year, the US abruptly withdrew from the nation, and global aid was cut as the Taliban took control of the region.
Since August, there has been a run on the banks, businesses have shut down, and there is widespread hunger. Afghan farmers are beginning to abandon their fields.
Compounding these issues, humanitarian relief has been slow to resume in the months since the US withdrawal.
Sources: International Christian Concern, NPR
As 23 million Afghans face starvation and a lack of basic means, Christians and religious minorities are facing employment discrimination. Employment for Christians was scarce before the Taliban gained control but opportunities are even rarer under the current Taliban regime. In addition, according to the US Department of Justice, Christians, Hindus, Baha’is, and Sheiks face societal discrimination and harassment for belonging to a religion other than Sunni Islam.
Islam is the official religion of Afghanistan, and those who convert to another religion are considered apostates – a crime punishable by imprisonment or death. The Taliban subscribes to a strict view of Sunni Islam from the Pashtun school of Islamic theology. Their beliefs also restrict the rights of women and freedom of the press.
Before the US. left Afghanistan, it was estimated that there were between 8,000-12,000 Christians in the country. Current numbers are difficult to obtain because Afghan Christians must worship in secret, often meeting in homes.
Let us pray.
- Ask the Lord to intervene to protect, strengthen and provide for the people of Afghanistan. Pray Christians will make the most of opportunities to show care and love to others.
- Pray that believers will be able to meet to support one another during this dark time.
- Ask God to give wisdom to leaders of the international community to know how best to respond to this desperate situation.