Ethnic fault lines and millennia of war have intensified Afghanistan’s crippling poverty. Warring factions have battled over the land for nearly 3,000 years. Loyalty to Islam is the only thing the different factions agree on.
“Religious identity is the only thing that Afghans can claim,” said Daud Moradian, a professor at the American University in Afghanistan. “They do not have a national identity, they do not have an economic identity, and there is no middle or working class here.”
The interpretation of Islam there, as elsewhere, creates its division. Always, the victims of Islam’s radical practices are women, children, and minorities. According to Sharia law, women are regularly beaten, raped, and repressed. Children also suffer abuse. Under militant extremist groups like the Taliban, the identity of men rests upon such male dominance.
Under President Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan functions as a mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic law. The Afghan government controls Kabul, the capital. However, Taliban warlords dominate the rural areas. More than 80 percent of the country lives rurally.
The Taliban had control of the nation for five years. When its official power fell in 2001, the Taliban did not lose resolve. Since then, nearly 20,000 Afghan civilians have died. According to Al-Jeezera,, the Taliban accelerated its rampage this year. Recently, the militant group has killed or injured an average of 40 children every week.
Afghanistan’s state of Helmand perhaps sees the worst of the conflict. Four hundred people were murdered there in 16 days of fighting. “It’s like Gaza, but no one speaks about it,” said Emanuele Nannini, the program coordinator of Emergency Surgical Center for Victims of War. He told the National Catholic Reporter that the violence in Afghanistan is at its most extreme levels.
Violence against Afghani Christian Believers is also high and Afghanistan ranked number three on the 2014 Open Doors World Watch list of the worst persecutors of Christians.
In Afghanistan’s population of almost 32 million people, Christians represent only about half of one percent. There are 48,000 mosques and no church buildings in the country.
Pray that as Afghanis accept the Gospel message, they will discover their true identity in Jesus Christ (The Bible, John 1:12).
Pray that Afghani Christians will be emboldened by the love and perseverance through Jesus Christ (The Bible, 2 Thessalonians 3:5).
Pray that the Taliban fatigues of fighting and desires peaceful negotiations (The Bible, Leviticus 26:6).