Christians in Afghanistan are facing intensified persecution now that the U.S. troops have exited the country in time for the August 31 deadline set by the Biden administration. Reports have surfaced that their lives are in danger as they are being hunted down by the Taliban forces.
"I'm not exaggerating by saying that the Taliban are killing Christians," Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom director Nina Shea declared, as reported by Christian Today.
Shea recounted how the Washington D.C.-based think tank tried to help a Christian man to flee Afghanistan after his brother and father were killed last week. "And he is in hiding near the airport hoping to get out, hoping to be rescued because he will be next. And it's because he's a Christian."
Shea argued that Christians in Afghanistan are in danger right now because a majority of them are converts from Islam and are being persecuted for turning their backs on the faith. She added, "That is considered in the Taliban's eyes to be apostasy that must be punished with death."
However, Christians in Afghanistan are also "doubly jeopardized," Shea said, because they are "conflated with Americans and the West. So when the Taliban sees them, not only are they considered apostate, which is punishable by death, but they are considered the enemy."
Religious freedom expert Dr. Rex Rogers, who is the president of the Christian media ministry SAT-7 North America that they have also received reports of Christians in Afghanistan being killed because of their faith.
Dr. Rogers said, "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."
"It's incredibly dangerous right now for Afghans to have anything Christian on their phones," Dr. Rogers lamented. "The Taliban have spies and informants everywhere."
According to The Hill, there are about 10,000 to 12,000 Christians in Afghanistan, most of which are converts from Islam to Christianity. Over the last 20 years, they have been forced to practice their faith underground because conversion is a crime punishable by death under the Sharia Law, which the Taliban upholds. Since the U.S.' takeover of Afghanistan in 2001, the Christian community in the country has grown, "in part because of the modicum of security leant by the U.S. presence on the ground."
The report also said that dozens of Christians in Afghanistan have decided to indicate their religious information on their national identity cards so that the younger generations would not have to hide their faith. But only 30 Christians in Afghanistan were able to make the change before the Taliban's takeover. The report also said that "some Christians on the ground have expressed that, with the takeover of Kabul, they expect to be killed, mafia-style."
Christians in Afghanistan are also concerned over the safety of their children because the Taliban already announced their plans to "eradicate the ignorance of irreligion" by "taking non-Muslim women and girls as sex slaves and forcing boys to serve as soldiers."
Because of the Taliban's tracking capabilities, Christians in Afghanistan are now forced to turn off their phones after receiving threatening messages saying that they will be hunted down and have fled to undisclosed locations.