An international persecution watchdog and at least one Christian media executive believe Christianity could grow exponentially in Afghanistan, with the bold proclamation emerging on the one-year anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover of the predominately Islamic nation after the Biden Administration’s much-maligned withdrawal.
Release International, a U.K.-based group monitoring Christian persecution, marked the first anniversary of the Taliban’s harsh rule with a news release indicating its belief that, despite severe and even deadly restrictions, Christianity could exponentially grow in Afghanistan.
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Despite noting “the persecution of Christians is continuing unabated,” Release International also stated that “there are early signs that the Christian faith could be growing among Afghans despite – or because – of violent persecution.”
The Situation in Afghanistan
As CBN’s Faithwire has extensively reported, life under Taliban rule has been brutal, terrifying, and even deadly, especially for Christians who are persecuted for rejecting Islam. The examples of pain, poverty, and persecution are ceaseless.
An Afghan woman spoke earlier this year to persecution watchdog Open Doors USA under a pseudonym for fear of retribution, claiming the Taliban are going “door-to-door” in Afghanistan, snatching up young girls, and killing Christians “on the spot.”
In January, Afghanistan was designated the worst nation in the world for Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA. The shocking development was the “biggest seismic shift” in decades, as North Korea, the reclusive and oppressive East Asian country, was bumped from the top spot it had occupied for 20 years.
“This year’s 2022 World Watch List, we think, is the biggest seismic shift in over 20 years because Afghanistan is now the No. 1 country on the World Watch List, supplanting North Korea,” Open Doors USA CEO David Curry told CBN’s Faithwire.
In addition to Christian persecution, general life has been miserable for Afghans, with women’s rights taking major hits and with some citizens so desperate for sustenance and support they’re reportedly selling their kidneys to feed their children.
The Impact of Chaos
This chaos and consternation have reportedly left young Afghans looking for answers. Shoaib Ebadi, president of Square One World Media, a Christian media organization, told Voice of the Martyrs Canada these questions could lead young people to seek other options, like Christianity.
“They are eager to hear about new things because their way of life that has continued for centuries has not brought peace or forgiveness, and the people are not prospering. It’s always fighting and revenge,” Ebadi said. “They are questioning everything: their own faith, their past, their present, their future.”
With access to cell phones and social media, he said they are seeing videos about Jesus and learning about the Bible.
Ebadi believes Christianity could spread both within Afghanistan and among Afghans who have fled to other countries, proclaiming the growth might end up being even broader than what is seen in Iran, another nation where Christians often suffer persecution and yet the faith rises.
“The growth of the church in Afghanistan in the next five, 10 years will be 10 times more than what’s happened in Iran,” he said. “We do not know exactly what is going on … but from the past experience, I can say that the Lord is at work. New people every day. What we know is, people are questioning.”
Andrew Boyd of Release International said it’s tough to confirm current statistics on evangelism or conversion in Afghanistan but that his team is hearing uplifting things from Christian TV channels.
“It’s very, very hard to confirm all of this, but we’re getting reports from TV channels, who are still in regular contact with viewers – these channels are outside of the country, Christian channels,” he said. “Some Christians are still managing somehow, very carefully, very cautiously, to meet with other Christians on the ground.”
He continued, “There’s great risk in all of that, but one of the TV channels is convinced that Christianity is now growing faster from a very low base, admittedly, in Afghanistan.”
Boyd said these reports are “cause for optimism.”
Continue to pray for Afghanistan and Afghan Christians during this difficult time.
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