5. World Watch List
Leader: President Hamid Karzai Population: 35.6 million (perhaps a few thousand Christians) Main Religion: Islam Government: Islamic republic World Watch List Rank: 5 Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism/Tribal antagonism
The situation in the country remains unstable and Islamic extremist groups continue to gain power. Christianity is still considered a ‘Western’ religion and is seen as hostile to Afghan culture, society and Islam. Those who leave Islam are treated as apostates and face huge pressure from family, society and local authorities, Sharia law demands death penalty and there are relatives who would comply. There is no public church, even for expats. Christian converts keep their faith secret, since any connection with Christianity is dangerous. In September 2013, an Afghan MP called for the execution of converts to Christianity.
- All Afghan Christians come from a Muslim background and are at risk if their faith is discovered. Ask God to protect and encourage them
- The Taliban continue to threaten and attack Afghan citizens. Pray that their influence will diminish
- That the withdrawal of international forces in 2014 will not lead to a return to civil war.
In recent years, tension has increased for Christians in Afghanistan as the government and society as a whole embraced a strict form of Islam and did not accept any form of Christianity. Consequently, Christians have been pushed deep underground.
All Afghan Christians come from a Muslim background. If their conversion to Christianity is discovered, they will be put under huge pressure to recant their faith, both from Muslim clergy and local authorities. Tribal values are deeply entrenched and anyone embraces something new and maybe even foreign will be looked at as a traitor and excluded from the community. The Christian religion is still considered to be a Western religion and, as such, hostile to Afghan culture, society and Islam.
It is not likely that the situation for Christians will improve in the near future. The withdrawal of international forces in 2014 will probably lead to a new phase in which the current regime will have to deal with the threat of the Taliban as well as the different ethnic factions in the country. In April 2014, there will be presidential elections which could lead to more insecurity and instability. Finally, there is a volatile situation in neighbouring states as Pakistan that also affects the situation in Afghanistan.
MORE about the country.
Pamir Ministries radio work means hundreds of conversations by phone or internet with Afghans. This is true for the Dari and Pashto languages. Pray for this work to prove fruitful.
Afghans in Europe.
Among the million refugees in Europe in 2015 there were about 100,000 Afghans. Many churches are serving/reaching out to them. 32,000 Dari NT and 8,000 Bibles have had to be reprinted. Great demand for literature, DVDs etc. and Pashto Scriptures. P.T.L.–Afghans are being saved and incorporated into churches.