The Christian Influence Was Huge in Afghanistan; Now They Are Under Threat of Martyrdom

AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

With all the demoralization, horror, and carnage we are witnessing in Afghanistan because of the Biden administration’s failure to properly and safely exit the country, many outlets are bypassing the Afghan Christian Church, which is now under threat of martyrdom.

According to Open Doors’ World Watch List of the most dangerous countries for Christians, Afghanistan ranks Number 2 in the world. The Taliban has now taken over the country, making this already dangerous situation even more deadly.

From Christianity Today:

As most Americans absorbed the shock of the Taliban’s full takeover of Afghanistan over the weekend, officials at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service followed the rapidly deteriorating situation with resignation, knowing it could have gone differently.

In May, leaders at LIRS, one of several faith-based agencies contracted with the US government to resettle refugees in the United States, sent a letter to the Biden administration requesting it remove Afghan civilians (and their families) who have worked with the US before its planned troop withdrawal.

This request has been lost in the bureaucratic maze of the State Department, and at this point it is like shouting into the void. The State Department cannot even manage to get out diplomats and American Embassy workers, let alone these particular refugees.

In June, most of those organizations—including LIRS, World Relief, Church World Service (CWS), the Episcopal Church (which resettles refugees through Episcopal Migration Ministries), and HIAS (founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society)—urged President Joe Biden to implement plans to evacuate Afghan translators, soldiers, cultural advisers, embassy clerks, and others who have worked with American armed forces, media or nonprofits, and allies and to authorize as many SIVs as necessary to make that possible.

But as the Taliban invaded the presidential palace in Kabul this weekend, two decades after it was ousted from the Afghan capital by the US military, many who remain in the country fear they will be targeted by the Taliban if it is discovered that they aided the US.

It’s not only “devastating” to witness, Yang said, but also “disappointing to see how many people are left in a very vulnerable state because of the quick control of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the limited capacities we have as a government to be able to evacuate our allies.”

President “Ready on Day 1” was asleep at the switch, and now not only the refugees, but the Christians who aided them, are under threat of death or severe persecution.

Paraplegic Author, Painter, and Disabilities Activist Joni Eareckson Tada posted on her Joni & Friends Facebook page:

Hours ago, as the Taliban took control of Kabul, Afghanistan, my friends and I sat and stared breathless at my iPhone – the BBC showed hundreds of terrified people racing across the airport tarmac, pleading for help and hoping to climb onto U.S. Air Force planes leaving the country. It was pandemonium and I wept at the sight.

The church in Afghanistan is the second fastest growing church worldwide – and now, our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing vicious retaliation from the Taliban. Please join me in praying that God will strengthen them, pouring out courage, and mercy, and comfort… and that the Afghanistan church will be bold in witnessing to panicking neighbors and friends.

May Jesus Christ protect and defend the widow, the orphaned, and the disabled (please join me in interceding for the weak and vulnerable in that forsaken country). And may Christians in that horribly broken nation hold fast to Psalm 59:1-2, 10-11, “Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from evildoers and save me from bloodthirsty men.… oh, my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, or my fortress, my loving God.”

#PrayForAfghanistan #Intercession

Brave Christian Missionaries John and Jan Bradley are working feverishly to get the workers in their organization to safe haven.

The Bradleys have been in Afghanistan for 13 years, educating young girls and supplying life-changing prosthetic limbs to children who lost them due to bombs and mines.

They spoke with The Christian Chronicle about this race against time:

They’ve educated girls and provided state-of-the-art prosthetic legs for children who lost theirs in the decades-long war that has devastated the beautiful country the Bradleys love.

On Sunday afternoon, while John spoke with The Christian Chronicle, Jan was on the phone with contacts in the southern Asian nation, trying to help volunteers and colleagues leave the country.

“We’re trying to get out 50 — including family members — people who work with us and their families,” John Bradley said. “That number might grow. A lot of people are contacting us. … We’re trying to help as many as we can.”

Many reports from Christian missionary, and other NGO organizations reflect Christians are in desperate fear, and feel as though the Biden administration threw them to the wolves.

According to a story in the Washington Post, one family is appealing to Pope Francis for aid. There is no such thing as an unexplored avenue as the situation has become dire.

John Bradley expressed his own fears:

When the Taliban took over the region a couple of weeks ago, the school leaders went to the local mosque and were told the girls could still go to school.

“I’m hopeful things will be settled, and the girls can go to school,” John Bradley told the Chronicle. “I’m an optimistic person, but I’m not real optimistic about things there. I’m trying to be realistic.”

Meanwhile, everyone who has worked with the Bradleys or other Americans is in danger.

A church that was already underground and on the edge now needs to find a deeper hole in which to hide. As we continue to watch this slow train wreck unfold in Afghanistan, remember the Afghan Christian Church, and the Christian organizations struggling to exit the country, in your prayers.