“We’re hearing from reliable sources that the Taliban demand people’s phones, and if they find a downloaded Bible on your device, they will kill you immediately.”
This is how Dr. Rex Rogers, North American President of the Middle East media ministry SAT-7, describes conditions in Afghanistan for believers after the Taliban’s takeover. He adds: “It’s incredibly dangerous right now for Afghans to have anything Christian on their phones. The Taliban have spies and informants everywhere.”
Open Doors ranked Afghanistan as the second-most dangerous country in the world for Christians even before the Taliban took control. Now a pastor who built churches in Afghanistan is warning that the Taliban will “exterminate” the church there.
A pastor in the US who works with Afghan refugees reports: “Young Christian girls are being pursued by the Taliban. The Taliban just raided the home of another church leader and confiscated his Bibles and literature.” House church leaders have reportedly received letters from the Taliban warning them that they know where they are and what they are doing.
A member of the UK Parliament warns that “there are 228 missionaries in Afghanistan currently under sentence of death.” Missionaries and mission groups are working feverishly to get Christian colleagues and volunteers out of the country.
At the same time, another kind of “nation building” is going on in Afghanistan and around the world. Unlike human efforts, it is empowered by divine providence and omnipotence. It is not subject to elected officials or brutal dictators. No terrorist group can stop its advance.
As a result, despite the escalation of dire threats against Afghan Christians, followers of Jesus there are standing resolute in their commitment to their Lord. They can testify with Paul, “I know whom I have believed” (2 Timothy 1:12). And they can claim God’s promise, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
For example, in early July, Afghan pastors and church leaders made the difficult decision to formally register their faith with the Afghan government. Despite the obvious dangers of such a public declaration, they did this for the sake of their children and grandchildren: “Someone should make this sacrifice so the next generations can openly call themselves followers of Jesus.”
Christian missionaries who have worked over recent decades in Afghanistan are not surprised by such courageous faith and service. One explained his work: “We’re just empowering them to do what they want to do to serve their own people.” Missionaries describe the remarkable hospitality they experienced from the Afghan people.
Christianity Today adds that “a small but vibrant group of Afghan Christians pray and worship” in the country despite all opposition.