Afghanistan (MNN) — Fear and hope collide as the final United States troops leave Afghanistan, ending the longest war in U.S. history.
The State Department said Sunday that there are up to 250 Americans still in Afghanistan who have indicated they are trying to get out, in addition to roughly 280 others who have yet to decide whether they want to leave the country or intend to stay.
The Islamic State fired rockets at U.S. troops yesterday amid hurried evacuation flights. Local believers say Islamic State fighters battle alongside the Taliban, “ignoring their differences until all infidels are caught, tortured, and killed.” More about that here. The Taliban blamed ISIS-K for suicide bombings last week at the Kabul airport. The attacks killed more than 100 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops.
Afghan Christians are hiding for now, but they want to stay and reach their neighbors for Christ – despite the increased risk.
“Believers on the ground are running for their lives. They’re literally running into the mountains and the hills,” Reza* of Global Catalytic Ministries says. Follow GCM on Facebook for the latest updates.
“It’s kind of ironic; the places where the Taliban was hiding all these years, they’ve come out, and now the believers are going to those places.”
“Wait until the world isn’t watching.”
Afghan believers face more danger than before. “They (Taliban fighters) have a hit list; they’re looking for Christians. They’re even killing EMT people because they work for the city,” Reza says.
“This is the Taliban 2.0. They’re coming back with a vengeance, and they are there for a purge.”
Global attention keeps Taliban violence to a minimum, at least in Kabul. “They’re not doing anything right now because the whole world’s watching, but wait until the world isn’t watching,” Reza says.
“They’ve been waiting 20 years for this moment.”
One leader in a certain area of Afghanistan tells Reza, “Any house that has a girl over 12 has to put an X outside of their house; the girl is [taken and] married off to the Taliban. If they don’t put an X outside of the house, [the Taliban will] come and kill the whole family.”
Furthermore, “any woman over 25 that is married, they can kill the husband and take the wife as a reward for jihad,” Reza says.
As described here by Frontier Alliance International (FAI) on August 17:
Husbands and fathers have given their wives and daughters guns and told them that when the Taliban come, they can choose to kill them or kill themselves—it is their choice.
Find your place in the story
Now that you know, what will you do? Between now and September 11, Global Catalytic Ministries is raising emergency funds to supply Afghan believers and ministry partners with food, water, and shelter. Here’s how you can help.
“We’ve been working in this country for over five years. We know how to work [here],” Reza says.
“It doesn’t matter who’s in control. We know how to get resources in, and even how to get people out.”
Pray God would blind the Taliban so leaders can operate without detection. It will take Divine Providence and true miracles. Ask the Lord to protect women and children abducted by the Taliban. Find more prayer needs here.
Pray also for a local believer, “Andy,” who was taken yesterday. GCM partners do not know where he is. Just as Paul and Silas were freed in Acts 16, pray that “Andy” would return home safely and that his captors would see the face of Jesus.
“Afghanistan is the second-fastest-growing Church in the world after Iran. My belief is God is going to start coming in dreams and visions to the Taliban, and He’s going to come even more powerfully than before,” Reza says.
Despite the conflict and danger in Afghanistan, our (GCM-assisted) church leaders are not letting up. They remain as committed as ever to promoting the word of Jesus Christ in this nation. (Photo, caption courtesy of Global Catalytic Ministries)