Simply stated, it’s way worse than anything you see on the television or online.
Last week, I listened in on a call organized by Christian non-profit leaders. Among the speakers was Eric Watt, whose RUN ministries supports a network of about 65 small house churches of about 10 people in Afghanistan. He was asked how bad it was and he said it was more violent, more chaotic and more dangerous than anything we can believe. And that was before our troops left.
He, along with other call participants, said the Taliban rule already has meant girls taken from their families to be sold in sex slavery or to be married off, while young boys were taken into the Jihadist training camps. They believe that life as it has been known in the big cities for the last 15-plus years was over.
Watt’s organization has pursued five initiatives since the fall of the country became clear. They have actively pursued and rescued orphaned children from the traffickers and then placed them into homes. They recovered more than 100 the prior weekend. He said that one family in a house church may have been caring for three children and they were asked for care for three more with no change in their economic situation. His group steps in financially in these cases.
They have been helping Christians get out of the country whether by air or land and have another strategy of moving threatened people out of the big cities to smaller areas that are believed safer. For one leader, that involved helping a family of 13 cross the border into Pakistan. They are being put up in an apartment and just what will be worked out is an open question because they did not have papers when they crossed the border.
Given the Taliban control, one leader said that Christians and non-believers alike were running to churches and staying away from mosques afraid of what could happen there.
What they’ve been able to do is all based on relationships. Andy Weigel of the Strategic Resource Group said that the leader of their women’s initiative has both a private sector and ministry background, but, more significantly, spent six years in Afghanistan and brought those relationships to the new job she started this year.
When asked what Afghans are thinking, Kevin Greeson broadened the question to the Muslim world. “You see how Iran’s leaders have made Islam so ugly and so hideous. “ They’re watching.