Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
It is impossible to live openly as a Christian in Afghanistan. Leaving Islam is considered shameful, and Christian converts face dire consequences if their new faith is discovered. Either they must flee the country or they will be killed. This was true before the Taliban takeover: the situation has become even more dangerous for believers this year. The Taliban will make sure that Islamic rules and customs are implemented and kept. Christian converts don’t have any option but to obey them.
If a Christian’s new faith is discovered, their family, clan or tribe has to save its honor by disowning the believer, or even killing them. This is widely considered to be justice. Alternatively, since leaving Islam is considered a sign of insanity, a Christian who has converted from Islam may be forcibly sectioned in a psychiatric hospital.
“The Taliban are killing our souls and spirits.”
Sharifullah (name changed) is a traditional craftsman in Afghanistan. He is a secret believer, who devotes his life to shepherding the people God has entrusted into his care.
The situation in Afghanistan made headlines around the world last year, as the Taliban advanced across the country and captured the capital, Kabul, on August 15, 2021. Many Afghans fled the country, and there was wide expectation that freedoms would be swiftly curtailed. For Christians, though, there were basically no freedoms to lose: Afghanistan had been No. 2 on the Open Doors World Watch List for several years, and Christian persecution remains extreme in all spheres of public and private life. The risk of discovery has increased, since the Taliban controls every aspect of government. This extends to owning documentation—including paperwork from international troops—that may help identify Christians.
Christians face extreme persecution wherever they are in Afghanistan. Control and supervision are stricter in rural areas than in most cities, but Afghans are expected to be loyal to clan, family and Islam across the country.
Open Doors raises prayer support for persecuted believers in Afghanistan.