‘Our situation is desperate’: An update from Afghanistan

February 3, 2022 by Christopher Summers in Stories of Persecution

“I feel alone.”


Zabi* says this from a country we can’t name. But she’s not from this country.


She’s from Afghanistan. And she’s running for her life.


What am I supposed to do?

When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in late 2021, Zabi knew exactly what it meant for her and other Christians. Her father and brother had both found Jesus in Afghanistan. But when the Taliban—who have effectively controlled parts of Afghanistan for years—found out the men were believers, the Taliban took both Zabi’s father and brother away.

The two were never heard from again.

Zabi worked for international aid organizations in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban the first time in the early 2000s. Her work was important and she was able to save a little money. But it also made her a target when the Taliban took over full control.

“She’s single, quite young and well-educated,” says an Open Doors partner in the region. “She was active in the area of human rights, and therefore a target for the Taliban. They may know that she’s a Christian already.”

She knew that when the Taliban were in charge, her life would be in danger. And so, with her mother, she fled the country to the place where she now lives as a refugee. “When the Taliban took over in August [2021], [the international organizations] departed and I was left behind. My mother and I managed to cross the border into another country.”

But that doesn’t mean she’s safe. Far from it.

The flag of the Taliban on a wall in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken by Wikimedia user AhmadElhan and licensed under the Creative Commons 4.0 license.

The flag of the Taliban on a wall in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken by Wikimedia user AhmadElhan and licensed under the Creative Commons 4.0 license.

“Our situation is desperate,” Zabi says. “I have money in my bank account, but cannot access it from here. I have a visa, but it will expire soon. What will happen to me? I don’t know. I’m praying I can leave this country and go somewhere safe. I may have to go into hiding. Or I’ll be deported to Afghanistan. I may be killed if that happens. We don’t have food and no extra clothes. We cannot pay the rent of the apartment [we’re staying in].”

This is the reality for believers in Afghanistan: They face a choice between staying in the Taliban’s country and facing death as soon as they discovered—or they flee to a new country, where they face an uncertain future with little hope and the constant threat of being sent back to Afghanistan.

“I feel alone and hopeless,” Zabi says. “I worked for those international organizations for years and now they don’t help me? What am I supposed to do? I feel depressed, if I’m honest. I can only think about survival. How are my mother and I going to live?”

Thankfully, God led our frontline partners to Zabi, and they are now in regular contact with her. We have encouraged her, prayed with her, given her food and help her with rent and some basic funds, so she is safe and able to survive.

“Thank God for your food and clothes deliveries, your financial support and your prayers and encouragement,” Zabi says. “You are a strand of hope to me. There’s a chance I may live.”

Open Doors partners will continue to help her, although we don’t know what her future will hold. Will she flee to a third country, build a life there and work for the human rights of the Afghan people? Will she go into hiding in the country where she is now, living as an illegal immigrant?

Will she be sent back to Afghanistan, at the risk of being martyred, just like her father and brother?

Help Afghan refugees like Zabi

With every gift of $100, you can help provide critical relief and support for a Christian Afghan refugee family of four for about two months.

Give now

Only God knows how Zabi’s story will end, but for now, all we can do is pray with her. “She’s very depressed,” an Open Doors partner says. “She’s grateful for the support, but it’s like being happy that someone showed up to the funeral of a loved one. You’re happy this person is there, but you’re still overwhelmed with grief. It’s the same for her. She’s so thankful that we’re helping, but at the same time, she’s still in shock about what happened. It’s difficult for her to express what has happened and how she feels. We just have to be with her and help her where we can. Pray that God opens a door for her so that she and her mother can be safe.”

Here’s how you can pray with Zabi:

  • Pray God will keep Zabi and her mother safe, and that He will show them a way ahead—and give them hope.
  • Pray in the midst of this traumatic experience, Zabi will grow in her faith—and that her mother, who is a Muslim, will come to faith in Jesus.
  • Ask God to protect all believers in Afghanistan, whether they are known to the Taliban or not.
  • So many Afghan refugees are at risk in surrounding regions—when believers flee Afghanistan, the countries they go to are not necessarily much safer areas to follow Jesus. Ask God to protect His people.

*Name changed to protect identity