02 September 2021, The Tablet

Afghanistan: Christianity’s survival on a knife edge

Afghanistan: Christianity’s survival on a knife edge

Fr Giuseppe Moretti at Our Lady of Divine Providence Chapel, Kabul, in 2013. Attached to the Italian embassy, it is the only legally recognised Catholic church in Afghanistan
Photo: Alamy/Reuters


For Afghanistan’s small and already precarious Christian community, previously estimated to number up to 12,000, the return to power of the Taliban has brought fear and uncertainty

Reports received by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and other agencies working closely with religious and other minorities leave us in no doubt about the scale of the crisis facing Christians in Afghanistan. Persecution had been a fear that dare not speak its name, as underground Christians, like so many minorities, have long been conditioned by the need for absolute discretion, with the faithful worshipping privately in small underground house churches, most with fewer than 10 members each. Since the takeover by the Taliban, however, desperate calls have been made to aid organisations from groups helping those who are now desperate to flee, preferably to the West. A contact close to Christians in Afghanistan, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said: “We are all very frightened. We are terrified for the future.” The Christian satellite channel SAT-7 reported a surge in calls from Afghans “desperate for encouragement and hope”.

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