Afghanistan 2020-21 report – 9/11 – 20 Years on – A land in shambles

The War on Terror (WoT), also known as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and the U.S. War on Terror – Clockwise from top left: Aftermath of the September 11 attacks; American infantry in Afghanistan; an American soldier and Afghan interpreter in Zabul Province, Afghanistan; explosion of an Iraqi car bomb in Baghdad.

The landlocked multiethnic country located in the heart of south-central Asia that got in the news every day for twenty years, got special attention when America decided to leave that region of a continuous endless war. For millennia great armies have attempted to subdue Afghanistan, officially Islamic State of Afghanistan. Its significant mineral resources remain largely untapped because of the Afghan War (1978–92) and subsequent fighting.

In the 6th century bce the area was part of the Persian Achaemenian Empire. Though Hindu influence entered with the Hephthalites and Sāsānians, the country became entrenched with Islam during the rule of the Ṣaffārids, c. 870 ce., the Iranian dynasty that ruled a large area in eastern Iran.

Since the stable monarchy was overthrown in the 1970s and Marxist reforms sparked rebellion, instability entered the region and Soviet troops invaded. Afghan guerrillas prevailed, and the Soviets withdrew in 1989. In the meantime rebel and religious fanatic groups sought their way to gain attention and more eloquence in the country. This resulted in 1992 the establishment of an Islamic republic. In 1996 the Taliban militia took power in Kabul and enforced a harsh Islamic order. This Ṭālebān is the ultraconservative political and religious faction that emerged in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s following the withdrawal of Soviet troops, the collapse of Afghanistan’s communist regime, and the subsequent breakdown in civil order. They grew out of the madrasahs (Islamic religious schools) that had been established for Afghan refugees in the 1980s in northern Pakistan. And out of those schools came an even more fanatic sharia demanding group ISK, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province which came more to the forefront in September 2021. This affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) does not mind to bring more terror than Daesh and is active in South Asia and Central Asia. In May 2021, an ISIL-KP bombing killed 90 in Kabul. In August 2021, ISIL–KP killed 13 American military personnel and at least 169 Afghans during the U.S. evacuation of Kabul, which marked the highest number of U.S. military deaths in an attack in Afghanistan since 2011.

It was because Afghanistan did not want to extradite extremist leader Osama bin Laden and members of his al-Qaeda militant organization following the September 11 attacks in 2001, that the American troops started their War on terror in Afghanistan. In March 2002, the U.S. and other NATO and non-NATO forces launched Operation Anaconda to defeat the Taliban militarily and rebuilding core institutions of the Afghan state. After these many years and billiards of dollars, they did not succeed in destroying any remaining al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the Shah-i-Kot Valley and Arma Mountains of Afghanistan. The Afghanistan War has become the longest war ever fought by the United States.

The Taliban had regrouped in western Pakistan and began to unleash an insurgent-style offensive against Coalition forces in late 2002. Coalition forces with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) pacification offensive in the town of Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan went into the Battle of Marjah, undertaking Operation Moshtarak in southern Afghanistan along with other military offensives in the hopes that they would destroy the Taliban insurgency once and for all.

A full withdrawal of U.S. troops, initiated in 2020 and continued into 2021, anticipated the end of U.S. deployment to Afghanistan, but the resurgence of the Taliban during the withdrawal left the country in similar straits to when U.S. forces had arrived 20 years earlier.

Today, we can find generations of Afghan people who have known no other than war. It would be understandable that you might find lots of people who have questions about God or a god and the need to have a religion.

Fourth-fifths of the Afghan population are Sunnis of the Ḥanafī branch, incorporating the legal opinions of the ancient Iraqi schools of Kūfah. Fewer than one-tenth of Afghans belong to a Sufi order, seeking to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. (Islamic mysticism is called taṣawwuf (literally, “to dress in wool”) in Arabic, but it has been called Sufism in Western languages since the early 19th century.)
A lot of people do forget that there are also a few thousand Hindus and Sikhs
or Gurmati (Followers of the “Way of the Guru”). The last ones meditating on the “Name of God”, Akal Purakh (one of Nanak’s names for God), or doing nam simaran.

Also meditating on the Name of God, are those who worship Allah or the Elohim with the Name Jehovah. The same as the Muslims they worship only the One True God, but the regime nor the fundamentalist Muslim groups accept them and consider them a danger for the nation. That is why our brothers and sisters have now an even more difficult time than when the allied forces were trying to keep some order in Afghanistan.

In December 2020 it was still possible to baptise a brother in Kabul and a few weeks later a sister who was present at the baptism.  It’s hard enough living in Afghanistan, let alone being a woman in Afghanistan, let alone being a woman who has left Islam for Christianity. Her situation is really not easy and will not be.

We also could see how the Covid lockdown has been used by the Lord to take the Gospel to areas we would not otherwise reach very easily.

File:Iranian languages distribution.png
The Iranian peoples are a diverse Indo-European ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Iranian languages and other cultural similarities. – Western Asia, Anatolia, Caucasus, Ossetia, Central Asia, Western South Asia and Western Xinjiang

Thousands of downloads were made of the Farsi app from Afghanistan. By that app we do have the opportunity easily enter very difficult areas with the true Gospel. For February and March Afghanistan has been the top country of the world for viewing our YouTube channel.
Whilst internet access is relatively low, there is a similar turning to Christianity there as is seen in Iran at the same time. The European Christadelphians also were lucky to have had some wonderful online meetings with the contacts in Afghanistan, resulting in four baptisms for February. There was also one person who had been asylum seeker in Riga, Latvia for 6 months a few years ago. Also an Afghani living in Iran got baptised in that period.

Many Afghanis speak the same language as most Iranians do.

With the corona crisis we also managed to do bi-lingual Zoom-meetings, in English and Farsi. This Persian language is the official language of Iran, and has two varieties known as Dari and Tajik wich are official languages in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, respectively and covering a huge territorium. Because so many people also knowing Farsi this makes it possible to connect lots of refugees in Europe with our meetings on the net as well as in our local ecclesial in the United Kingdom and Belgium.
it is really great to see how many Farsi speaking people are interested in our faith and got so far to have a baptism. Last few months we were glad to greet several refugees in our ecclesial as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Despite family difficulties and opposition, we were at the first quarter of 2021 able to baptise an Afghan sister, who had ardently devoted herself to the Lord Jesus. We discussed many questions, such as should she continue wearing the hijab when she goes outside, the external sign of submission to Islam.

In the first half of 2021 the Taliban have resurged in Afghanistan, recently taking control of half the country. This made even more Afghani civilians fleeing as town after town fell to them. The Taliban declared intention is to establish an Islamic extremist emirate in Afghanistan, though they promised not to be too fundamentalist and to have a modernised view, it looks like they do not keep their promises. This of course is a frightening prospect for those baptised into Christ there, making the situation even more dangerous than before. A sister there was able to join us at our Zoom breaking of bread after she had privately shared with us her terror at what is happening. This and the whole situation left us calling unto our readers to pray for the situation and for our brethren in that tragic land.

With the Taliban now in control of Afghanistan, it is impossible to openly be a Christian. Notwithstanding their promises, they are searching house to house, checking phones and computers, to see who has had contact with Western people or Christianity. The situation has forced those considering baptism to make a now or never decision, and some of our brethren were able to baptise a relative of existing brethren who have already fled Afghanistan. After the service, we asked him about the situation. He confirmed that the Taliban are indeed going house to house, checking phones and phone history. He deletes all messages from his phone, and installs the Bible Companion app whenever he wants to read the Bible, and then deletes it and reinstalls it next time.

We are in touch on and off with some others we’ve baptised there. They are all very frightened. There was no realistic chance of getting any of them on the evacuation flights, with the situation around the airport being very highly dangerous. All our dear ones are resigned to having to live under the Taliban, although possibly in the longer term we may be able to assist them to get out overland through the mountains into one of the neighbouring [also Islamic] countries. We have also given some details to the relevant authorities , and a UK brother is working with his local MP to get their names on whatever relevant lists for asylum. How that will ever be achieved – we leave to faith.

We are telling them all the time that we are praying for them, and are forced to trust in God’s saving hand and the promise of 1 Cor. 10:13 that we will not be tested more than we are able to bear. But please – let us come good on this and actually pray hard for them all and the entire situation.

There seems so little we can do. However, Christadelphian brothers have stepped up advertising the Bible Companion app in Afghanistan, whilst there is an opportunity to do so. It would seem that window of opportunity may close soon, but it remains to be seen how effectively the Taliban can limit internet access. We are open to your donations towards these adverts. And there is lots of response- despite the reported danger of the Taliban killing those who have Bibles on their phones, people are eagerly downloading Bibles onto their phones. They likely delete the app after reading a bit, and then download it again when they want to read more, just as our new brother says he does. It is amazing that right under the noses of the Taliban, even in their traditional stronghold of Kandahar, people are downloading our app- around 160 people downloading the app there for the first time every day, and many re-downloading it regularly. Truly persecution does lead to more intense interest- “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”. You can see the evidence in these statistics from just one day [Google calls downloads “conversions”].

Despite all that bad news which reached us here in West Europe, we’re pleased to tell you that in September there were many really joyful baptisms of Bible Companion app users all over the world, people who have indeed come “to know the joy and peace of true Christianity” and lots of refugees in the UK who got baptised by our Newbury members.,

The whole situation in Afganistan means that every genuine Christian believer is torn between standing up for their faith, and on the other hand saving their lives by going along with the Islamic culture and requirements whilst in their heart not believing it. This creates all kinds of struggles of conscience.

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Israel a nation again + The Sign of his Coming

These days of August thinking of our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan

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Additional reading

  1. Do world religions threaten the survival of the human race in the 21st century
  2. A vision of a very different future for Kandahar culture
  3. Bringers of agony, Trained in Belgium and Syria
  4. ISIS on the rise again as US troops are sent home
  5. A human drama set in Afghanistan
  6. How the Taliban Began – Afghanistan 1994-97 – John Simpson’s Journal (and how different are they now, really?)
  7. Afghanistan – ‘An Anatomy of Reporting’; Twenty-Five Years On: 1996-2021.
  8. Facing an other ISIS branch
  9. The Iranian American Frieda Afary looking with (republican?) American eyes at Iran
  10. Taliban conquest of Afghanistan a clock to turn back years
  11. Worse Than Saigon
  12. Afghanistan: international community statement
  13. Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi
  14. Afghanistan — What It Tells You
  15. Moving heaven and earth to get every last American in Afghanistan back to American soil
  16. Expecting the E.U. to stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan
  17. The Fall of Kabul: The Return of the Taliban
  18. Afghan mums throw their babies over barbed wire fences and beg British soldiers to take them to safety
  19. Early warnings of the coming attack
  20. Afghanistan – A full-scale humanitarian crisis
  21. Not an Afghan thing, it’s a humanitarian crisis
  22. The outlook for Afghanistan looks grim

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  8. 9/11 at 20: Our Moral Obligation After Two Decades of War
  9. 11 September 2001 – It was hell for everyone
  10. Day of the Planes: A 9/11 excerpt from ‘The Management of Savagery’
  11. Nine-Eleven, Two Thousand One.
  12. On 9/11 and Its Aftermath
  13. Twenty Years Later – A 9/11 Edition
  14. The 9/11 Domino – Reflections and Lessons
  15. 9/11: A Personal Reflection, in Pain and Hope 
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  19. Watch: Inside US detention centre at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan
  20. A Sad Day for America
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  22. 20 Years of Resistance to US Wars / 20 ans de résistance aux guerres étatsuniennes
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  33. TFF PressInfo # 638 – September 11: What the US should have done instead of starting history’s dumbest war
  34. After Afghanistan retreat, U.S. veterans face difficult 9/11 anniversary
  35. Taliban reopen schools for Afghan boys, girls barred
  36. Trump Criticizes Biden for Leaving Military Equipment to Taliban
  37. Imran initiates dialogue with Taliban for inclusive govt
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  39. US Drone Strike in Afghanistan Killed Civilians
  40. Pentagon reverses itself, calls deadly Kabul drone strike an error
  41. Apology ‘not enough’, say survivors of US drone attack in Kabul
  42. Panjshir battle just beginning, resistance intensifies
  43. Power shift in Afghanistan was almost bloodless: Putin tells SCO.
  44. Taliban leaders minus girls from secondary education in Afghanistan
  45. In The End, Bin Laden Won He couldn’t have done it without us
  46. aliban replace ministry for women with ‘virtue and the prevention of vice’ authorities
  47. Re-reading the Afghan Jigsaw Puzzle
  48. Iran’s sharing of Taliban’s anti-American slogans doesn’t mean having common interests
  49. 3 explosions se produisent en Afghanistan, les talibans deviennent des cibles
  50. Evacuated Afghan Children Dance Along to ‘Baby Shark’ With Australian Soldiers
  51. Marine killed in Kabul suicide bombing honored in memorial at home
  52. #Breaking: The #Taliban denied claims that Afghan girls would be banned from secondary schools
  53. Are the Taliban popular in Afghanistan?
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  55. Billboard Shows Biden as a Terrorists Saying Make Taliban Great Again
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  58. He Left a War-Torn Country as a Refugee and Went on to Become a US Mayor

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