After seizing control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15, the Taliban is reportedly killing people found possessing copies of the Bible in their phones.
Before being repulsed by armed forces of the United States in 2001, the terrorist organization had run a brutal regime oppressing political opponents, religious minorities, women, and those suspected of violating their interpretation of Islamic law.
Twenty years later, the Taliban has resurged and surrounded the capital city of Kabul, forcing President Ashraf Ghani to flee. The situation escalated to the point that international soldiers and embassy staff had to be evacuated from the country, in a scene echoing the events of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
SAT-7, a Christian non-profit organization aiming to spread messages of faith to Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, has reported that the Taliban is sending “spies and informats” to oppress the Christian minority in the country.
According to reliable sources, anyone caught with a downloaded copy of the Bible will be executed immediately, as told by SAT-7.
“It’s incredibly dangerous right now for Afghans to have anything Christian on their phones,” Dr. Rex Rogers, president of SAT-7 North America told Religion News Service.
One contact, given the name ‘Micah’ for protection of identity, told Release International, who work to monitor the events in Afghanistan, that the current situation is “dire” from fears of the people in the country.
“Our brothers and sisters in Christ are telling us how afraid they are,” said Micah.
Release International also reported that those who are associated with the government are to receive punishments, Christians are to be killed.
Other than SAT-7, other Christian non-profit organizations and ministries that offer aid to persecuted Christians globally have also been spreading the word on the Taliban’s brutal leadership.
In the 2021 version of Open Doors’ World Watch List, Afghanistan was declared the second most dangerous place to practice the Christian faith, rivaled only by North Korea.
According to the U.S. State Department’s 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom, family members and officials in Afghanistan are issuing death threats to Chrisitan believers, forcing them to practice their faith underground.
Moreover, even without the Taliban, Christians were already facing persecution from the now-former government, with apostasy, the “crime” of conversion to another faith, punishable by death, imprisonment, or confiscation of property.
One Afghan Christian, who spoke with the International Christian Concern, said that they are aware of the dangers posed by the Taliban since many of them were former Muslims.
“Every Muslim-background believer like myself that convert[ed] to Christianity, he knows the consequences of their conversion,” explained the contact. “Islam is very clear, Quran is very clear, Hadith is very clear for the apostasy. They give three days after that [and] if they don’t repent… there is no mercy on those people.”
With the Taliban firmly in power and the absence of international forces, Afghan Christians are left at the mercy of the ruling regime.
“Because it is so dangerous to seek the fellowship of other Christians, many Afghan believers are completely isolated with no other Christians to speak of,” said Rogers. “Our local director told me: ‘Most people don’t dare to attend Christian Church. Domestically they are alone, looking at us in fear. We are their last resort.”