While tens of thousands have fled Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country in August 2021, those who remain continue to watch, wait and suffer. The United Nations recently released a report which stated that 400 civilians have lost their lives since the Taliban takeover, and more than 80% of these have been killed from attacks linked to so-called Islamic State.
“These days, there is relative peace, but uncertainty reigns in the hearts of people as the days unfold,” shares Open Doors frontline partner Hana Nasri*. “The economy is debt-ridden and completely dependent on foreign aid. Thousands have lost their jobs in the political upheaval.
“There’s a huge humanitarian problem. A water problem. Large numbers of families are living together in hiding – when the electricity goes, when something is broken, families in hiding can’t ask anyone to help with the repairs.
“The weather is also changing rapidly. We didn’t have spring – it just went straight into summer. In this heat, there will be more cholera, dysentery, amoebas. There’s a lot of disease, and now, it’s not just Covid-related only. Things are expected to get worse when the heat escalates.”
A Hazara woman in her home in Kabul, Afghanistan. Image: imb.org
While some women in healthcare and essential services have been allowed to join the workforce, the majority are not allowed to work. The Taliban publicly shared that Afghan girls will be back to school by 21 March. Girls in grades one to six are indeed allowed to attend school under severe restrictions but, out on the ground, people know that this is religious education – a trusted contact calls it ‘brainwashing to create informants for the future’, saying ‘a whole new system of indoctrination is now being used, and that girls in higher grades do not have the freedom to study’.
“We’ve been told a lot about women being stopped and abducted, not just believers,” adds Hana Nasri. “It’s happening to everyone. The door-to-door search is continuing. Intimidation is going on – any kind of religion in the country won’t be tolerated.”
Heavenly Father, provide food, water and jobs for those in need in Afghanistan. Bring peace to fearful hearts, and heal all those who are suffering from physical, emotional or spiritual wounds. We especially lift to You those who are being marginalised – encourage them and provide opportunities for them to flourish in their God-given identities and callings. For all Afghans – be that in the country or elsewhere – may there be moments of joy and laughter amid the suffering and challenges. Amen.
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*Names were changed for safety and security reasons.
*Name changed for security reasons
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