PRAY FOR AFGHANISTAN AS FIGHTING INTENSIFIES
SAT-7 appeals for prayer as tens of thousands of Afghan families attempt to escape the fighting between the insurgents and Afghan military, currently living in fear of what a return to Taliban control after 20 years might mean in their districts and cities.
Edin*, a SAT-7 viewer, messaged SAT-7’s audience relations team to share that he does not dare to carry his mobile with him because the area is under Taliban control. “Whenever you are thinking of calling me, please let me know in advance so that I can try to somehow answer your call,” he asked.
Mikael Tunér, who grew up in Afghanistan and is a producer with SAT-7 partner ministry Media Mission the Messengers, said, “It is a very dire situation. Our friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ are telling us how afraid they are – that their lives will be snuffed out. We are seeing the same things as before in the areas that the Taliban now control. Girls are not allowed to go to school. Women are not allowed to leave their homes without a male companion.”
“Many have come to Christ from all ethnicities across Afghanistan. Please pray over the coming weeks that Jesus, Prince of Peace, will rule in many hearts,” Tunér added.
On Tuesday 3 August, the UN Security Council “expressed a deep concern about the high levels of violence in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s military offensive,” and a UN official added that the gains made in human rights over the past 20 years were in danger of being erased. Children and women are especially at risk, with the UN reporting that 27 children have been killed and 138 children injured across the region in the last three days. According to one police officer, the escalating violence has led thousands of fearful people to seek a way out, with 10,000 people a day applying for passports instead of the usual 2,000 applications.
The Shia Hazara ethnic minority in Afghanistan have also been the target of many atrocities by militants, including the Taliban. The Hazara are also the community that has seen the largest number of Afghans turning to Christ, including those who watch SAT-7’s Persian and Dari programs. Worryingly, SAT-7 has heard stories of Hazara being stopped to see if they have any evidence of being Christians on their phones.
Pastor Shoaib Ebadi, who presents one of SAT-7’s weekly Dari-language programs for Afghans, says that Afghanistan’s Shia Hazara minority has already faced a “genocide” by Taliban and Islamic State jihadists. The 16 May 2021 bombing of Sayed Ul-Shuhada High School in Kabul and the horrific shootings at Dasht-e-barchi maternity clinic on 12 May 2020 were two of the worst attacks on the Hazara community.
Ebadi says it is the Hazaras’ experience of discrimination and suffering that “has caused young Hazaras to question and look beyond the traditional beliefs of Afghanistan. They are drawn to study more when they hear about Christ who gave His life for them in an ultimate expression of selflessness. And, as they read the Bible, they see themselves in the message of Christ and recognise the Saviour who gave His life on the cross.”
Please pray for Afghanistan and all those impacted by the violence. Pray for women and children whose rights are being abused and ignored. Pray for Christians and ethnic minorities who are being singled out and targeted. Pray for hope, mercy, justice, and healing in Afghanistan.