The status of women especially warrants prayer. They were effectively banned from public life by the Taliban. Widows endure particularly harsh plights, and depression and suicide are common. Worse, they have a life expectancy of only 44 years, with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Female literacy is under 20%, over one-half of Afghan brides are under age 16, only 5% attend secondary school and one-third are subjected to violence. Many still suffer the traumas of years of war and of pressures such times brought upon women in Afghan society. Although employment and social engagement can be very sensitive issues, younger girls are increasingly attending school; one-third of primary students are girls. Special radio programmes minister to women by communicating from the Bible the love and value that God holds for them. Pray for the disenfranchised women of Afghanistan, that they might receive justice, opportunity and freedom from fear and oppression, but especially that they might find Christ amid their suffering.
The need for the Scriptures. After decades of work, the whole Dari Bible is finally available (UBS); around 70% can understand this language. The NT in Pashto is available – albeit in a Pakistani and not an Afghan dialect and therefore not entirely understood. Work on an Afghan Pashto NT is underway. A full Bible translation does not exist in any indigenous minority language; pray that these might come to fruition. Praise God for translation progress in Hazaragi (Gospel of Luke), Kyrgyz (audio NT), Southern Uzbek (Genesis, Exodus and Matthew, with the full NT by 2012) and eight other languages either ongoing or beginning translation work. Pray also for the entry and distribution of God’s Word into this closed land; the government, the Taliban and even NATO forces and NGO groups oppose it.