On April 14, President Biden announced that the United States would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, ending a 20-year armed conflict in the country. At this point, around 90 percent of all U.S. troops have exited from Afghanistan.
Since President Biden’s announcement, Taliban forces have launched many offensives and retaken many cities and villages around the country. They’ve taken over 100 districts, and at this point claim control of 90 percent of Afghanistan’s border. Many observers believe the Taliban will continue their advance, retaking the capital city and fully rule the country as they did before the U.S. invasion in 2001.
This insurgency represents a devastating reality for the small number of believers there. Afghanistan is already a brutal place for the Church. Followers of Jesus are under constant risk, and the danger they face is very real. Afghanistan is No. 2 on the 2021 World Watch List, and God’s people live under intense pressure and the threat of imminent violence.
The most important thing we can do right now is pray. We spoke with Open Doors experts about the reality of life for believers in the region, and they gave us some specific ways to pray. Please, lift up your family enduring constant danger and trauma in Afghanistan.
- Pray for an end to the violence and for God to give wisdom to the leaders and all those involved in peace negotiations. Pray no more civilians would be injured or killed from airstrikes or attacks from either Afghanistan’s government or Taliban forces.
- Pray for the hungry. Ask for God’s divine provision for those in the margins of the war—for the men, women and children whose stomachs are rumbling due to the drought and lack of access to food and other basic needs. Pray for the Lord’s miracles to be real in their lives and that He would provide them both physical and spiritual food to nourish their bodies and souls.
- Pray for the sick. Many people in Afghanistan are infected and dying from COVID-19, especially with the spread of the Delta variant and lack of access to healthcare. Pray for the Lord’s healing and restoration to be upon all those who are ill. Pray He would send more vaccines to the country and that the vaccine rollout would be successful even amidst the increasing violence. He is the God of the impossible.
- Pray for the displaced. Many families are in refugee camps, are fleeing their homes or are thinking about fleeing. Pray for the Lord to grant them His protection, wisdom, shelter and provision.
- Pray for the believers. There must be so much fear and trepidation among followers of Christ who are secretly living their faith within their homes in this country, especially with the news of a possible Taliban takeover. Pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen these secret believers in their inner being. Pray the peace of God would rule in their hearts.
Top photo: IMB.org