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News / Thoughts

Afghanistan: ‘Should we flee for our lives, or stay?’

February 14, 2022

Christians in Afghanistan have been at extreme risk for years – and it’s got even worse. The Taliban are going door-to-door, hunting for believers to kill. Gulshan* is a courageous secret believer still living in Afghanistan – here’s her story.

As secret Christians in Afghanistan, Gulshan knows how much danger they’re in. Before the Taliban took over in 2021, Christians faced extreme persecution in Afghanistan – but afterwards, this intensified terribly. That’s why Afghanistan is number one on the Open Doors World Watch List for the first time in its history.

“The Taliban are conducting a door-to-door search to find us,” says Gulshan – ‘us’ being any of the country’s small number of Christians. “God alone knows who has informed them about the whereabouts and identities of the believers. If they find us, they kill believers on the spot.” Gulshan has relatives who were killed in this way, and her Christian neighbours have disappeared. She hopes and prays that they are safe somewhere.

Courageously choosing to stay

Many Christians were among Afghans who fled the country last year, and a significant number of these brave brothers and sisters are finding support from Open Doors partners in neighbouring countries. Others, like Gulshan, have stayed – either by choice, or because they aren’t able to leave. She misses what little Christian community she had previously been able to experience.

“It is our great desire to join with our brothers and sisters and worship God together, but now this is not possible,” says Gulshan. “We can only meet our pastor in the dead of night, so no one can identify him or us.”

There is also a humanitarian crisis in the country, with desperate food shortages. “We live in fear that either the Taliban will come for us or we will die of hunger. For the last three days, my entire family has been surviving on one bowl of lentil soup. I don’t know how to continue to take care of my family as the lentils are about to finish.”

“Our faith is in Christ”

Despite everything she is risking, Gulshan knows that she is following a faithful God. “Our faith is in Christ, and will remain so until our last breath. Dear God, help us to find a straight and smooth path in our lives.”

Knowing that you are praying for Afghan Christians like her makes an enormous difference for Gulshan. “I know that my Jesus and yours is one,” she says. “Through prayer, we are united as we are the Body of Christ. May the Lord make you aware of our pain.

“We are assured that our united prayers in Christ are the solution.”

Pray now…

  • For Gulshan’s family to be protected from the Taliban, and be provided with food
  • That Christians would find ways to meet and worship together, despite the danger
  • For Gulshan to know God’s love and tenderness more closely than ever.

Three ways you can respond:

1. Learn more and pray: Get our free glow-in-the-dark World Watch List Map and find out more about the places where faith costs the most. Get your map here…
2. Pray regularly: Every Monday night at 7pm we’ll be praying one prayer for one minute for the one in seven Christians around the world who face persecution. Set an alarm and tune in…
3. Choose to Lose: Raise money by getting sponsored to lose something you love for a short time. Sign up and we’ll send you a fundraising pack…

*Name changed for security reasons

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.