U.S. officials say troops in Kabul will begin exiting on Friday to get all personnel and equipment out before the August 31 deadline. Taliban forces will block Afghans trying to reach the Kabul airport, a Taliban spokesman said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan represented the world’s third-largest humanitarian operation before this month’s crisis. United Nations and World Health Organization officials call for an immediate humanitarian “bridge” to get aid into the country before they run out of critical supplies:
“Conflict, displacement, drought, and the COVID-19 pandemic are all contributing to a complex and desperate situation in Afghanistan. Humanitarian agencies need to be supported and facilitated to meet the enormous and growing needs in Afghanistan, and make sure that no one dies unnecessarily due to lack of access to aid.”
Afghan Christians flee
Fear is tangible on the ground. “The Taliban has a hit list of known Christians they are targeting to kill. They are raiding houses and going through people’s phones to look for any Christian apps,” Heart4Iran’s Mike Ansari says.
“Afghan believers are in danger, and they are fleeing to the mountains. Many of them feel they have been abandoned.”
Heart4Iran has been broadcasting Gospel programs into Afghanistan since 2007 through its media division, Mohabat TV. “Many Afghans are familiar with Mohabat TV and regularly call and email us,” Ansari says.
“Since Kabul fell to the Taliban, we started going live into Afghanistan five days a week on social media and satellite T.V.”
Mohabat TV broadcasts include programming in Dari and Ḥazāra. An hour-long live program, Voice of Christ, reaches viewers each week with worship, news, Scripture, and more. Virtual Church gives Afghan Christians a safe place to connect with fellow “secret believers.”
How to help
Ansari says hundreds of Christ-followers in Afghanistan are reaching out to Heart4Iran’s team online, seeking prayer and help to access information:
Karim from Afghanistan emailed our team yesterday begging for prayer during this horrific time. His family is stuck in hiding, and they are desperate to flee to safety and find peace. He is just one of the hundreds of chats we have received this week from Christ-seekers in this nation, seeking peace from their fears and overall freedom in their homeland.
As we watch from afar, the best way to help is also the most powerful thing we can do – pray.
“Pray for God’s work to continue in Afghanistan and to protect the Church. Pray for Taliban zeal to be broken, to be replaced by humility and kindness,” Ansari requests. More ways to pray for Afghanistan here.
You can also send Bibles to Afghan refugees who escape to Iran. A $5,000 matching grant doubles the impact of every gift.
“There are many Christian and missionary organizations that have had boots on the ground since 2001. Ministries like Heart4Iran also invested a lot of resources to bring the Gospel to the region using digital media,” Ansari says.
Header and story images courtesy of Heart4Iran.