|Obama's move to pull troops out of |
Afghanistan could mean trouble
for Afghan Christians.
The president of the United States, Barack Obama, is bringing home 33,000 troops from Afghanistan over the next 15 months. That will leave about 70,000 troops in Afghanistan. While many welcome the announcement, others are sceptical about what that means for Afghans.
“There is not a great deal of confidence in the Afghan security forces to protect religious freedom,” said Nettleton.
The circumstances surround the U.S. removal of troops is reminiscent of Russia’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. A believer in Afghanistan at the time told Nettleton, “The Taliban has shaved their beards, and they've taken off their black turbans, but they're still here.”
With fewer forces to oppose the Taliban, today’s Christians in Afghanistan are concerned they will increase in strength and things could get worse for believers.
“There is all likelihood that there will continue to be persecution of Christians; there will continue to be Christians who will be laying down their lives because of their faith,” said Nettleton.
Christians make up 0.05 per cent of Afghanistan’s population while Muslims make up over 99 per cent. There are fears that the overwhelming number of Muslims egged on by the Taliban could bode very badly for Afghan Christians.
“Their interpretation of being a devout Muslim means that they should attack Christians, that a person who leaves Islam is an apostate and deserves to be killed,” said Nettleton.
There are already signs of that extremist attitude gaining ground. Just days prior to President Obama’s announcement, a video of a Christian in Herat Province being beheaded by Afghan militants was released.
Nettleton also says that "one of the things to remember is that security comes ultimately from Christ, it comes ultimately from God. It's not from U.S. troops, from a gun, or from a big fence around our houses."
Pray for Afghanistan's Christians!
- Pray that Christians in Afghanistan will stand strong in their faith and reach out to their neighbours, despite their small numbers.
- Pray for a peaceful transition and for increased religious freedom.
- Pray for those in the Taliban. Pray that they will come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.