1 SEPTEMBER ’21 | PRAY FOR AFGHANISTAN
Dear prayer partners,
On Monday 30 August, rockets were reportedly fired at Kabul’s airport, striking a nearby neighbourhood. It comes just days after a devastating suicide bombing at one of the airport gates that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members. The latest attack comes on the eve of the deadline for American troops to withdraw from the country’s longest war after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Despite the Taliban’s recent assurances that all foreign nationals and those with authorisation to exit Afghanistan will be free to leave, many remain sceptical. An emergency UN security council meeting is expected to discuss the Taliban’s reassurances. France and Britain are expected to table an emergency UN security council resolution calling for any new Afghan government to back a safe zone at Kabul airport to allow evacuation efforts to continue.
Afghanistan faces multiple challenges, as conflict, drought, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic push more citizens towards a massive humanitarian crisis amid political uncertainty. The World Food Programme (WFP) reported that one-in-three Afghans (about 14 million people), are hungry today and two million malnourished children urgently need treatment. The UN agency is due to run out of wheat flour as early as October and requires immediate funds to support the millions depending on it to deliver food.
After almost 20 years of women attending school, pursuing careers, and fighting to achieve an improved social standing, the position of women in Afghanistan has become increasingly tenuous. Thousands of women have fled, but many more remain – some in hiding – as they await an uncertain future.
The Afghan Church also finds itself in a season of deep uncertainty. It is extremely difficult to verify reports of persecution, especially amid the current chaos, and we should avoid exaggeration and extremes. The Afghan Church has always faced huge obstacles in pursuing and sharing its faith, yet we know that they have grown and matured amid the struggles. According to the Taliban’s ideology, Afghanistan is a Muslim country and non-Muslims must leave Afghanistan or accept second-class status. For Christians, coming from a Muslim background, the Taliban will consider them apostate and subject to Sharia’s deadliest consequences. They need the continued support of the larger Body of Christ to weather this new season of persecution.
Please join us in interceding for Afghanistan and particularly for our brothers and sisters, who are the light of Christ within this nation.
“Intercession is more than specific: it is pondered: it requires us to bear on our heart the burden of those for whom we pray.” (George Arthur Buttrick)