|Persecution Type:||Ethnic antagonism|
|Leader:||President Ashraf Ghani|
Afghanistan is a tribal society, and loyalty to one’s family, clan and tribe are extremely important. As an Islamic society, it is illegal for an Afghani person to leave Islam. The country is increasingly challenged by Islamic militants, the Taliban controls or contests more and more areas, and an ISIS-affiliated group also targets minorities. Those who decide to follow Jesus do so in secret.
Those who are discovered to be Christians may be sent to a mental hospital—because their families believe no sane person would leave Islam. They may also be beaten or even killed by family members, or members of Islamic extremist groups like the Taliban. Violence against Christians remains very high, but the measures taken against converts depends on the family. One Christian in Afghanistan says, “How we survive daily, only God knows. He knows because He has been kind to dwell with us. But we are tired of all the death around us.”
There are reports that several Christians have been killed in the World Watch List 2020 reporting period, but for security reasons, no details can be published.
Any visible acts of Christian worship are dangerous. As all religious ‘changes’ are noticed and reported, this often means that converts have to relocate; neighborhood pressure and the influence of the Taliban and ISIS is strong. If someone is found even exploring any faith other than Islam (and especially if they are suspected of having converted), the penalty can be death. Christians will be employed as long as it is believed they are Afghan Muslims. If it is discovered that they are even exploring Christianity (e.g. via websites in the internet), immediate action is taken to re-indoctrinate them until they and (any group involved) comply. This can mean torture.
A new 2020 Open Doors in-depth report focusing on gendered persecution surfaces some disturbing realities for Christian women and girls in the top 50 countries where women are highly persecuted for their decision to follow Jesus. Read More
In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More