“It’s a heartbreaking day for the citizens of Afghanistan and an even dangerous time to be a Christian,” says Brother Samuel*, Open Doors Field Director for Asia. “It’s an uncertain situation for the whole country, not just for secret believers. Our hearts are broken. We knew this could happen. We are not surprised but this does not make the pain any less.”
According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of May 21, about 100,000 people had been displaced by conflict in Afghanistan this year. Since then, the numbers have more than doubled.
Afghani citizens are in a frenzy. People have lined up at banks in a last-ditch attempt to withdraw their savings. Many locals who have helped U.S. forces are now applying for visas to leave.
This reality is starkly visible from the horrifying scenes at the airport in Kabul. As more and more people try to flee the Taliban takeover, people clung to planes as they began to taxi, desperately hoping for one last chance to escape.
People are literally sitting on the outside of c-17 plane as it taxiing to take off from #Kabul – later reports two or three people who clung to the wheels fell off mid flight, plunging to their deaths pic.twitter.com/Hn0pr03PUg
— Bel Trew (@Beltrew) August 16, 2021
Though the Taliban promises a more modern and reformed approach to government, fears remain as to how they will impose Shariah law in the days to come.
“Secret believers in Afghanistan are especially vulnerable,” Brother Samuel says. “Prior to Taliban rule, they already had a very difficult time living out their faith, as they had to keep it secret from their families for fear of being shunned, or worse, killed. Now that the Taliban is in power, their vulnerability increases tenfold. It would be almost impossible to be a follower of Jesus in this country. We are monitoring the situation, but this is the time for us to ask God to have mercy not only on His people but on this country as a whole.”
With the collapse of the government, the expansion of extremism, food shortages and the raging pandemic, Afghanistan needs urgent prayer from the global Church right now, more than ever.
- Please pray for the small group of believers in the country. They are walking on eggshells and are uncertain who to trust. Pray that they find strength, wisdom and supernatural peace in God’s promises.
- Pray for the displaced. A new wave of refugees is expected to come from Afghanistan to many parts of the Middle East and the rest of the world. Pray for God’s protection and provision over them in their journeys.
- Pray for the women. Many women fear that Taliban rule means they will be stripped of opportunities for education. Women involved in education during the past years could also be at risk—pray for their protection.
- Pray for the sick. Though under-reported in international media, COVID-19 cases are spiking in the country and hospitals are limited in what they can offer. There is no certainty as to how the healthcare system will be able to sustain itself with the new Taliban government. Pray that the healthcare system will not collapse.
- Pray that the country will not be a haven for extremists. The Taliban government of 20 years ago are known enablers of extremist Islamic organizations. With their newfound control over Afghanistan, the country could be host to a new generation of terror groups.