09/13/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday to answer questions from both Republicans and Democrats regarding the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Members of both parties are expected to ask tough questions about what went wrong during the withdrawal and what will be done about the looming humanitarian disaster. Members of both parties have publicly criticized the Biden administration about the withdrawal.
The United States brokered an agreement with the Taliban in which the United States agreed to withdraw all personnel by August 31, 2021. The withdrawal sparked a rapid takeover of the country by the Taliban as they seized control of regional territories, eventually conquering the capital city of Kabul on August 15.
The U.S.-backed government and security forces in the country disintegrated quickly, with much of the Afghan military giving up without a fight.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, Senator Bob Menendez, said regarding the withdrawal, “In implementing this flawed plan, I am disappointed that the Biden administration clearly did not accurately assess the implications of rapid U.S. withdrawal… We are now witnessing the horrifying results of many years of policy and intelligence failures.“
The flawed withdrawal and implementation of the evacuation sparked numerous concerns about the future of Afghanistan, especially the country’s religious minority communities including Christians. United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Nadine Maenza stated, “Reports of the Taliban searching for religious minorities in Afghanistan are deeply troubling… USCIRF urges the United States government to support religious minority communities to help them leave and provide expedited processing to a safe location.”
Many non-governmental organizations, experts, and activists have raised similar concerns about Afghans who are severely at risk under the Taliban regime.
The Taliban’s takeover has instilled deep fear and reservations for Afghanistan’s small and very secretive Christian community. The Taliban’s extremist ideology and historically brutal methods of oppressing people has Christians on edge and expecting severe persecution to become the new normal of their life.
Christians are estimated to number as many as 12,000 in Afghanistan, which makes them one of the country’s more substantial religious minorities. The Christian community is almost completely made up of converts from Islam, which makes them a target for severe persecution under the Taliban’s brutal interpretation of Shariah.
The Taliban’s ideology dictates that Afghanistan is purely a Muslim country and that their interpretation of Sharia law will be the basis for their rule. As a result, all non-Muslims in Afghanistan are faced with a difficult decision to either leave or be accept second-class status and face extreme persecution. Under Sharia law, the Taliban considers all Christian converts as apostates, a severe crime within this system.
ICC’s Director of Advocacy, Matias Perttula, said, “The international community must keep the pressure on the Taliban regime to ensure that human rights and religious freedom are safeguarded for all Afghans. The situation is growing worse by the day for the at-risk communities of Afghanistan and the international community must work together to place Afghan refugees in welcoming countries. Time is running short and more must be done.”
SOURCE International Christian Concern
PHOTO SOURCE U.S. Army