The Taliban’s grip on Afghanistan threatens ministries

By October 22, 2008

Afghanistan (MNN) — The Taliban
executed a Christian aid worker in Afghanistan on Monday.

Tom Doyle with
E3 Partners explains,
"There's been a resurgence with the Taliban. Some believers have actually
been escaping into Iran. Wherever we
went in Afghanistan, we just sensed that there was so much more tension."

Gayle Williams, a 34-year-old British national, had been working with handicapped Afghans for two years with
SERVE Afghanistan. "Here you have someone like Gayle Williams who
is just helping the people, not out there evangelizing, and they kill her. The Taliban is claiming

Afghanistan is a conservative
Islamic nation. Proselytizing is prohibited by law, and other Christian
missionaries or charities have faced severe hostility.

However, SERVE Afghanistan
rejected the charge of preaching and said it believed the claim was
opportunistic. The group's Web page says
the charity has been working with Afghan refugees since 1980 in Pakistan,
explaining that "SERVE Afghanistan's purpose is to express God's love and
bring hope by serving the people of Afghanistan, especially the needy, as we
seek to address personal, social and environmental needs."

The murder exacts a  high price: life or death for those who can
least afford the latter. The Afghanistan
aid agency which employed Williams has stopped operations and may pull out altogether.

Doyle says he met Williams during
his visit in Afghanistan two weeks ago. Her
murder has sent shock waves through the Christian community there.  

Workers and those in other forms
of ministry are close, and they won't be intimidated into silence.  However, Williams' death has a clear message
from the Taliban: "You're not welcome here."

"Bottom line is that it is
dangerous out there," agrees Doyle. "We
don't want to see ministries do things foolishly and be put in harm's way. But
on the other hand, we want to make sure the work continues, so there's a
tension there. We just really need prayer from the body for the leaders there
to know when to pull back and when to move forward."

Pray that Christians in Afghanistan will be able to stand for their
faith, despite the small numbers, and that they will reach out to those around
them with the Gospel of Christ.

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