EXCLUSIVE – Aid Group Ranks Afghanistan Worst Place in the World for Christians After Taliban Takeover

christians afghanistan
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The international aid organization Open Doors ranked Afghanistan the worst place in the world for Christians in 2021 on its World Watch List published this week, the first time the country appears at the top of the list and the first time in 20 years that Open Doors does not issue North Korea that distinction.

Open Doors CEO David Curry told Breitbart News in an interview this week that Christian persecution actually increased in North Korea this year even as it dropped a spot to number two on the list, but the threat that the return of the Taliban poses to Christians in Afghanistan is so great that it dwarfed the growing repression in North Korea.

The Taliban, a Sunni jihadist terrorist organization, became the de facto government of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, after President Joe Biden announced he would violate an agreement with the group and extend the 20-year Afghan War past its May deadline into September. Biden again amended that deadline out of September and into August. In the months between May and August, Taliban terrorists swept through the country facing minimal pushback from the poorly armed, poorly fed Afghan military. Taliban leaders finally reached Kabul, the national capital, on August 15, prompting then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to immediately flee.

The Taliban replaced an already Islamist government that regularly ranked number two on Open Doors’ World Watch List. Curry explained this week, however, that the Taliban’s arrival in the country’s largest cities significantly elevated that threat because it placed the few relatively safe havens for Christians in the country in the hands of fundamentalist jihadists.

“Now prior to the Taliban taking over, they still controlled 65-70 percent of the territories, mostly rural, of Afghanistan. What happened in Afghanistan is they took over the major cities, Kabul and others,” Curry explained to Breitbart News. “So many of the people who wanted freedom had moved to these major cities, so Kabul grew from 500,000 people to 5-6 million people and now the Taliban controls that territory, as well.”

“So they are in hiding, they are on the run if they are of the Christian faith, and it has just created a very chaotic situation,” he said, noting that Open Doors has, like many similar groups, documented door-to-door raids by Taliban jihadists seeking Christians to eliminate.

Reports of Taliban jihadists targeting Christians emerged from Afghanistan almost immediately upon their arrival to the country’s biggest cities. In addition to the Taliban using lists of “people who are prominent Christians” to eradicate the faith, as Curry explained, early reports out of Kabul depicted scenes such as Taliban jihadists summarily executing anyone found to have downloaded a Bible application on their mobile phones.

“It is impossible to live openly as a Christian in Afghanistan. Leaving Islam is considered shameful, and Christian converts face dire consequences if their new faith is discovered. Either they must flee the country or they will be killed,” Open Doors explained in its World Watch List summary of the country. “This was true before the Taliban takeover: the situation has become even more dangerous for believers this year.”

The Taliban has renamed Afghanistan the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” and announced the strict inplementation of their version of sharia, or the Islamic law. The state that preceded the Taliban’s, the “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” was also a sharia state, but granted women and religious minorities relatively higher levels of freedom.

The global outrage that their rise to power caused has proven an economic concern for the Taliban, prompting its top spokesmen to promise the world it would build an “inclusive” government that would respect women and demographic minorities.

“Our sisters … have the same rights, will be able to benefit from their rights,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in August. “They can have activities in different sectors and different areas on the basis of our rules and regulations, educational, health, and other areas.”

As of January, however, the Taliban has not allowed women to return to work or girls to return to schools. Its “inclusive” government features only members of its organization or the affiliated Haqqani Network, another terrorist group.

“The Taliban can’t be trusted. What we know for sure is that they have an ideology, you might even say it’s a theology, and in their theology they don’t have room for girls to go to school,” Curry explained.

“They are going to try to control that in a certain way, to try to put on a face. They want to present this as the Taliban 2.0, new and improved,” he continued, “But the reality is this is the Taliban with their ideology, with their theology that is based in sharia law, the most extremist version of Islam, it’s not like the rest of Islam.”

“They are going to oppress, kill, harass Christians and people they think are not holy enough in their system,” he concluded.

Curry urged the free world, and the United States in particular, to focus on what he described as the most urgent fallout of the Taliban’s return to power: the thousands of Afghans scattered across the globe fleeing persecution.

“There’s so many people who are in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere who have fled this regime and they need to be sorted and helped to plant in free societies where they can prosper,” Curry said. “I know there’s a lot of questions about security and these kinds of things and these need to be dealt with, but that is the major pressing issue right now.”

Curry observed that the Biden administration has already resolved they’re not going to help them,” referring to Afghans still in the country, and encouraged some focus, at least, on the displaced refugees.

“I think, you know – obviously, this withdrawal was at a minimum horrendously planned. It’s hard to believe they could plan to do it worse. But right now the major pressing humanitarian issue is these refugees,” Curry concluded.

The 2022 Open Doors World Watch List documented the presence of over 360 million Christians in countries that actively persecute the faith and the killing of nearly 6,000 Christians for their faith in 2021. Read the full report here.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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