There are ~10,000-12,000 Christians in Afghanistan, which tops the global list as the most dangerous place to be a Christain. Afghan Christians face death sentences for their faith and live in deep hiding. You can help them by praying, or volunteering at or donating to organizations that fund their survival necessities and evacuations.
Christianity in Afghanistan
It is believed Christianity was introduced to the region that is now Afghanistan via the biblical Apostle Thomas. Later Muslim and Mongal conquests of the region ushered in great oppression of Christianity in Afghanistan that has remained for thousands of years and produced a strictly underground Christian church.
But, the last 20 years has seen growth in the Afghan Christian community. While in 2013, the U.S. Department of State estimated that only 3,000 Christians lived in Afghanistan, today, 10,000 to 12,000 Christians are estimated to live in the country. Most of these Christians are converts from Islam. Many were converted by other Afghan Christians who felt safer practicing evangelism when U.S. and NATO forces were in Afghanistan. Others were converted via western Christian soldiers serving in Afghanistan, including U.S. soldiers.
Over the last 20 years, however, a new phase of Christian growth has begun in Afghanistan. As the community grew under the protection of American and NATO forces, Christianity has more frequently become generational, with children being born into the faith community. Sadly, in August 2021, the Taliban retook the country, beginning a brutal reign against Afghan Christians.
Under the Taliban’s Sharia Law, Christianity is against the law, as is Christian evangelism. For this reason, Christians in Afghanistan live in hidden communities often referred to as the underground church. If they do not, not only do they risk death or torture, they also are denied jobs, education and even custody of their children. In many cases, the Taliban takes Christian women and children to serve as sex slaves or soldiers.
How to Help Christians in Afghanistan: 3 Ways
You can help Afghan Christians by praying powerful verses of the Bible over them. You can also volunteer with organizations dedicated to providing Afghan Christians protection and living necessities. Finally, you can also donate to these same organizations.
Here are three ways you can help persecuted Christians in Afghanistan:
Christians in Afghanistan turn to prayer for protection over their community and they ask that we do the same. Psalm 91 and Isaiah 54:17 are great starting points for praying the Bible over these Christians. You can also follow us on the Doubting Thomas Research Foundation Facebook page to learn about their latest prayer needs.
Join the Afghan Rescue Project volunteer team to help save lives. All tasks needed to save lives can be performed from the comfort of your home using a laptop computer and a smartphone. Learn more about how to volunteer by visiting our volunteer page.
- Donate/Sponsor a Family
Whatever your budget, you can donate to help save lives. Small donations provide basic survival necessities like food, medical care, and baby products. Mid-sized donations go toward safe house rent, passport renewals, and essential transportation of beneficiaries. And, large donations go to evacuation expenses and refugee after-support. See our donation page to learn more about donating to save lives.
Christian Persecution in Afghanistan
Even under the protection of U.S. and NATO troops, prior to the fall of Afghanistan, Christians suffered persecution from different sources, including the subdued Taliban, other extremist organized groups, and other extremist Muslim civilians in Afghanistan who are not tolerant of diverse perspectives and beliefs. Still, this persecution was greatly reduced compared to Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban prior to 2001, when public executions, amputations, deadly beatings, bombings, and torture of Christians was not uncommon.
In January 2022, Afghanistan topped the devastating Open Doors 2022 World Watch List as the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian, replacing North Korea. Afghan Christian men, women, and children are threatened with being burned alive, tortured, bombed, hung, stoned, or forced into sex slavery or child soldiering. Christians remember the extreme danger they once lived under historic Taliban rule. They know this danger has resumed and that nowhere is safe in Afghanistan.
Sadly, though, Christians in Afghanistan have little chance of escaping Taliban hunting grounds. As the Taliban taps into lists of Christians who declared themselves as such on national ID cards when they believed it was safe to do so, bounties are being placed on the heads of Afghan Christians. This means neighbors, friends, and even family members who are not Christians are hunting these Christians alongside the Taliban, hoping to receive money to feed their families in a now failing economy and amidst mass famine.
To make matters worse, it is estimated that only 20 to 30 percent of Afghan Christians have passports. And, many countries will not accept them as refugees without passports. Purchasing a passport is a deadly journey for these Christians as the Taliban camps out at passport offices in Afghanistan to hunt them.
Immediately following the August 2021 fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, many countries discussed waiving passport requirements for persecuted Afghan Chrstians. These considerations, however, have faded into history. Afghan Christians largely hear crickets from countries believed to be friendly to them.
What’s Happening to Christians in Afghanistan: Stories from the Ground
To crystallize the plight of Afghan Christians today, consider the following stories of real Christians currently stranded in Afghanistan’s Taliban hunting grounds. Omid and his family suffered freezing temperatures while hiding from the Taliban in a hole in the ground. Rashed and his brother suffered amputation attempts at the hands of Taliban torturers. Note that our beneficiaries’ names have been changed to protect Christians currently in danger in Afghanistan.
Hunted Christian Family Hides in Sub-freezing Hole in the Ground
Omid came to Christianity while serving as an interpreter for American forces in Afghanistan. It was an American soldier who told him about Jesus and led him to the faith. Soon, Omid became a leader in the underground Christian church in Afghanistan, serving as a pastor and evangelist. Even when Afghanistan was under the protection of U.S. and NATO forces, he saw many of his parishioners die as Christian martyrs in Taliban hands.
Then, at the time Afghanistan fell to the Taliban once again in August 2021, Omid was already known to the Taliban as a Christian, a pastor, an evangelist, a servant to the Christian underground church, and a supporter of Western forces. As a result, now in power, the Taliban began an immediate hunt for Omid and his family, seeking their lives.
As Afghanistan’s economy fell, Afghan families began to take desperate steps to survive, including selling a child as a bride to ensure the rest of their children did not starve to death, or selling body parts to make ends meet. So, when the Taliban put a bounty out on Omid’s head, Omid’s family, friends, and neighbors began hunting him and his family of 12 alongside the Taliban, hoping to earn enough money to feed their families.
This bounty meant Omid had nowhere to go; still, he had to leave his home. The problem: homelessness in the subfreezing temperatures of the Afghan winter meant certain death for him and his family. So, desperate to keep his family alive, he prepared a hole in the ground and he and his immediate family lived in that hole in subfreezing temperatures.
In doing so, Omid separated his immediate highly-targeted family from his extended Christian family members, hoping to give them a better chance of survival. The rest of his family hid in a basement that soon became surrounded by Taliban fighter barricades set up to search for Christians and other targeted people. Both groups of Omid’s family had no heat and no ability to leave their places of hiding to get food, water, or medical care.
That is when Omid used his phone to message Ryan Mauro’s Afghan Liberty Project (ALP) team using an app that is not trackable by the Taliban. In his email, he told the ALP team that his wife was sick with likely pneumonia and they were going to freeze to death. When the rescue team extracted them, Omid’s wife was showing signs of sepsis from pneumonia and needed emergency medical care to survive, which was immediately provided.
Then came the hard part. The ALP rescue team in Afghanistan had to enter a Taliban surrounded basement to rescue the rest of Omid’s family. It was a dangerous operation but with lots of prayer and an unrelenting team on the ground that would stop at nothing, this operation was pulled off with few injuries to ALP team members.
As the rescue team on the ground recovered from their mission, all of Omid’s family was pulled into the ALP safe house network. Extended family members were also treated for pneumonia as food, heat, and security were provided for all. Today, ALP has evacuation routes for Omid and his family. But, with such a large family and a bill of $4K to $5K per Christian evacuation, funding has become a huge obstacle to their evacuation from Afghanistan.
Evangelist Brothers Suffer Taliban Amputation Attempts for their Faith
Rashed and Ahmad are two evangalistic leaders who lead a large portion of the underground church in Afghanistan. As part of their religious beliefs, they also publicly fought for women’s and children’s rights and vocalized their views through their roles as journalists on national Afghan news stations and websites. Their primary means of bringing awareness to their Christian causes was through their journalistic writing.
As a result of their work, both of them were kidnapped and tortured for their Christian views and work. In these torture sessions, they were asked which hand they write with, then Taliban fighters attempted to amputate the hands with which these brothers primarily wrote.
Thankfully, Rashed and Ahmad were able to escape and underwent several surgeries each to re-attach and repair the damage to their hands and wrists. Still, the scars tell their stories. Sadly, though they were fortunate to escape death in Taliban hands, they did suffer through the grief of family members who did not make it out alive from Taliban torture and murder plots.
The Afghan Liberty Project team was approached first by Rashed after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. They had gone into complete hiding and faced more imminent death than ever if they proceeded with their public work. Once Rashed learned to trust the ALP team, he slowly introduced his family members to the operation, then his parishioners. Soon, Rashed’s introductions to the rescue team resulted in the evacuation of 52 Christians from Afghanistan, including Rashed, his brother, and their wives and children.
Today, these brothers have joined the Afghan Liberty Project team, working through their safe contacts and the underground church in Afghanistan to assist with finding safe houses, delivering food and medical care, and providing safe transportation to Christians still stranded in Taliban hunting grounds. The end result thus far has been hundreds of Christians’ lives saved.
If you would like to help save persecuted Christians in Afghanistan like Omid, Rashed, or Ahmad, you can donate to feed, provide a safe house or medical care for, or evacuate a Christian or a Christian family from Afghanistan. Every donation, big or small, helps to save lives! Donate to the Afghan Liberty Project to save persecuted Christians.
Frequently-asked Questions (FAQ)
What religion is banned in Afghanistan?
Christianity, Atheism, Agnosticism, Judaism, Islam beliefs that differ from the Taliban’s interpretation of the Koran (such as Shia), Sikh, and Hindu are illegal in Afghanistan. The Taliban regards conversion from Islam as punishable by death. Even Sunni Muslims who preach a different interpretation of Islam than the Taliban are issued death sentences.
Is Christianity allowed in Afghanistan?
Christianity is against the law in Afghanistan as are Christian Bibles, customs, celebrations, biblical apps, churches, and evangelism. Even association with Christian NGOs is illegal in Afghanistan. Christians in Afghanistan are punished with torture sessions in attempts to make them convert to Islam and death sentences if they refuse to convert.
Are they killing Christians in Afghanistan?
Afghan Christians are killed by the Taliban in addition to other extremists groups and civilians in Afghanistan who believe Christianity to be a sin punishable by death. Afghan Christians are stoned, burned, bombed, tortured, hung, shot, and beat to death. Family and neighbors of Christians in Afghanistan sometimes hunt Christians to receive a Taliban-issued bounty.
How many Christians are in Afghanistan?
It is difficult to estimate how many Christians there are in Afghanistan. This is because Christians in Afghanistan strive to remain hidden due the fear of extreme persecution and the Taliban-issued death sentences for all Christians within the country. However, it is estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000 Christians live in Afghanistan.