As of Tuesday last week, after twenty years of American and international intervention capped by a chaotic and tragic exit, Afghanistan reverted fully to Taliban control. In a little over a week in August, the Taliban dismantled two decades and USD 83-billion worth of rebuilding efforts. There is plenty of blame to go around spanning four US administrations, the Afghan government, and the Afghanistan army, military contractors, etc. But the biggest victims, as always, are the Afghan people themselves.
While the Afghan army was heavily criticized by US President Biden for not putting up a fight, in truth, the Afghans are a warrior people whose courage is beyond question, earning the nickname “graveyard of the empires.” The problem was that they could not bring themselves to fight for a Western installed, corrupt, and failed government whose President left in a huff.
The dilemma facing the international community is whether to shun or recognize a Taliban government. As of this writing, Sheikh Haibatullah Akhundzada is set to be proclaimed as the supreme leader of an Islamist Afghan government. Akhundzada is the Taliban’s religious leader who oversaw the implementation of Sharia law during the Taliban’s first rule from 1996 to 2001.
Domestically, the big question is whether the Taliban know how to actually govern a country. There is a looming food, electricity, inflation, and COVID crisis. A spark of hope is the ongoing armed resistance led by the former Vice President allied with Ahmad Massoud Jr., the son of a national mujahideen hero in the Panjshir province. Again, it will be the ordinary Afghans who will suffer.
Every Nation (EN) started a work in Kabul in 2003 just before the US declared victory over the Taliban. By the grace of God, all our EN missionaries and local disciples have been out of the country years before this crisis. The sad news is that their families are still trapped in Kabul. While we were able to source international contacts who were in a position to airlift some of them out, the situation quickly devolved to where they couldn’t even get to the airport as all the roads were controlled by the Taliban. In their words, it was “impossible.” And even if you could get to the airport, rival IS-K suicide bombers began targeting departing Afghans. Everything seemed to turn from bad to worse.
As of this writing, for all practical purposes, they are still stranded in Kabul, fearing retaliation from the Taliban who are going house to house. Despite the Taliban’s repeated assurance of no retribution against Christians and those who helped the American forces, on the ground reports reveal that they are hunting these people down.
Romans 5:20 says where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. Even as the darkness of a fundamentalist theocracy begins to cover Afghanistan, there is a thriving underground community of believers. They may be the size of a mustard seed now, but it will someday grow to become the biggest tree in the garden.
- Let us stand in faith with our Christian Afghan brothers and sisters. Ask God for supernatural protection, courage, and faith in the face of extreme persecution. May God open doors for Christian witness among other Afghans.
- Pray for Afghans and internationals who still need to get out to be able to depart safely. Pray for wisdom, favor, discernment, and protection.
- Lift the Taliban up in prayer. May there be a visitation from God upon them from the top leaders to rank soldiers. Intercede for the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts. May they honor their word not to retaliate against Christians and locals who helped the allied troops.
- Pray against the spirit of fundamentalism and terrorism in the land. Pray that Afghanistan does not revert to a safe haven for international religious terrorists. Ask God to expose the evil forces who will attempt to do so.
Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.
We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.
To learn more about the situation in Afghanistan, you can check the news and resources in the links below.