by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - As Afghanistan descends further into chronic economic and political catastrophe, the nation’s Christians are facing hunger and even more severe employment discrimination than they were before the US withdrawal and the Taliban takeover in August, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. Afghanistan ranked two on the US Open Doors Watch List 2021 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted - even before the Taliban took power this summer.
ICC reports that 23 million Afghans are facing starvation as, in addition to global aid being cut off once the Taliban came to power, a severe drought has reduced agricultural produce. “Since August, there has been a run on the banks, businesses have shut down, and there is widespread hunger,” ICC said in its report.
To make matters worse, Christians, as well as Hindus, Baha’is, and Sheiks, face vastly limited opportunities to work, ICC said. These groups are harassed and discriminated against on a daily basis simply for being of a religion other than the Taliban’s Sunni Islam, ICC reports.
In a statement about the dangers facing minority faith groups in Afghanistan, former US Ambassador-at-large Sam Brownback told the National Catholic Register that the situation was “a deadly and catastrophic situation that could easily lead to a genocide,” ICC reports.
There are an estimated 8,000-12,000 Christians in Afghanistan, ICC said, but it is hard to determine exact figures because the church has had to go underground. “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 have to flee the country or they will be killed,” US Open Doors explains on its website.