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Explore Christian Persecution by Country


About Christian persecution in Afghanistan

It was always risky for any Christian from Islam to publicly affirm their faith in Afghanistan, but since the return of the Taliban on August 15, 2021 it is even more dangerous. The Taliban regime believe formally that to convert from Islam to Christianity deserves the death penalty.

Their threats are fierce. One government minister said recently, “We will cut any Christian we find into pieces.” There are secret home gatherings, and SAT-7 airs programs with teaching for the members entirely on Facebook. Satellite TV’s are discouraged and dangerous. Persecuted Christians in Afghanistan need to beware of tribal customs and blood feuds too, since to leave the tradition of the tribe is seen as the worst act of disloyalty.


people live in poverty

Over 2M

Afghans fled to Pakistan


Hibatullah Akhundzada



Christian pop.

> 1000

“We can only practice our faith in the utmost secrecy. We must examine everyone to see if they are friend or foe. It means that so many of our fellowships have to be family only, as the act of witnessing requires us to risk our lives. Still, in the despair that the western regimes have left, there is an interest in the Gospel that bears quiet fruit. Pray we will pray the price to speak the name of Christ.”


History of Christianity in Afghanistan

Although today the Christians of Afghanistan are almost entirely indigenous and converts from Islam, it comes as a surprise to many how ancient the history of Christianity is in the country.

Nestorian or Persian Christians established churches throughout present day Afghanistan as early as the 400’s, and Catholics later, but during the reign of Timurlane in the 14th century Christianity was suppressed here under the banner of Islam and throughout Central Asia with a violence unmatched in human history. In Christianity as a World Religion, the authors state, “Since Timur, it has been a capital offense for any Afghan to convert to Christianity, and there have been hardly any witnessing communities in that country.” (p47)

This land full of spectacular landscape and warring tribes and extremist Islam has nevertheless seen surprising upsurges of Christianity, none more so than during the Russian occupation of the country between 1979-1989. Over two million Afghans fled into northern Pakistan, where many came into contact for the first time with Christians providing aid. Said one convert, “We were told by our Imams and that if a Christian ever offered us soup it would contain poison, but we were well fed and clothed by Christians, and we were forced to change our view.” Many converts in the country date their conversion from this time.

Also, in the aftermath of 9/11, Western forces occupied the country from 2001 to 2021, ousting the Taliban, and creating freedoms not seen for literally decades. Yet with the chaotic withdrawal of Western forces in August 2021, the country lies shattered and poverty stricken. Christian Afghan leaders in most cases were able to flee. A total of 34 million people now (up from 19m in 2020) are in poverty; foreign aid constituted 40% of GDP and paid 70% of government salaries but that has dried up. After two years, not a single government has recognized the Taliban leadership, and even they struggle with other Islamic fundamentalist groups such as ISIS-K, another Taliban group from Pakistan, and even Al-Qaeda who periodically commit atrocities in the country.

Stories from AFGHANISTAN

January 5, 2024

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