The very few Christians brave enough to remain in Afghanistan since the Taliban terror group seized control of the country last August, “face routine torture and persecution” from members of the Sunni Islamist extremist group and other Afghans, Fox News reported on Monday.
“Christians who remain in Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover face routine torture and persecution from both the [Taliban-occupied] government and their own friends, families and communities, according to humanitarian and watchdog groups,” Fox News Digital reported on August 29 citing a recent interview with the CEO of the anti-Christian persecution organization Open Doors USA.
Open Doors USA CEO David Curry told Fox News Digital that the organization “knows” an Afghan Christian man named Saad who “confirmed that the Taliban had a list of Christians they distributed last year in an attempt to hunt them down.”
Curry also serves as a commissioner for the U.S. federal government’s Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
“There are still Christians in Afghanistan,” Todd Nettleton, who serves as media relations chief for the anti-Christian persecution organization Voice of the Martyrs, told Fox News Digital on August 29.
“I think during the time of the Taliban takeover a year ago, there was a lot of coverage that kind of suggested that all the Christians had fled the country,” he stated, adding, “there is an embattled Christian community there in Afghanistan still today.”
Nettleton estimated that “potentially thousands” of Christians remain in Afghanistan today and face “profound challenges.”
Nettleton did not explicitly state in his interview with Fox News Digital that Christians in Afghanistan were being “tortured” by the Taliban. However, the media outlet noted that an annual prayer guide issued by Voice of the Martyrs “labeled Afghanistan a ‘restricted’ country, where ‘beatings, torture and kidnappings are routine’ for Christians.”
Afghanistan’s Taliban terror group seized control of Kabul, the Afghan seat of government, on August 15, 2021, amid a chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country under the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden.
The U.S. maintained a military presence in Afghanistan for nearly two decades as part of America’s War in Afghanistan, which lasted from late 2001 until August 2021.
The Sunni Islam-based Taliban previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 but was ousted from power by the U.S. military. Washington subsequently replaced the Taliban with a U.S.-backed Afghan government administration in Kabul. This internationally recognized government was ousted from power by the Taliban in a stark reversal of action last August.
The Taliban has since reinstated sharia, or Islamic law, as the basis of Afghanistan’s law code as it did from 1996 to 2001. The group’s emphasis on fundamentalist Sunni Islam has seen its members ban all women and girls from pursuing work or school.
All females must cover themselves with a burqa, an Islamic garment that veils a girl or woman from head to toe including her eyes, when leaving home and additionally must be escorted by a male chaperone. Sharia additionally enforces corporal punishment for crimes, such as cutting off a convicted thief’s hand.
The Taliban officially refers to Afghanistan as the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” In addition to reimposing sharia, the group has also reignited the general persecution of any people in the country who do not follow Sunni Islam, such as minority Christians.