Ecumenical, evangelical church world groups gravely concerned after Taliban takeover in Afghanistan

(Photo by Marko Beljan on Unsplash)Aerial view of the Afghan city Mazar-i-Sharif.

The World Council of Churches and the World Evangelical Alliance are both deeply concerned over the take-over of Afghanistan by the Taliban who in the past have been known especially for the persecution of religious minorities and the suppression of women.

"People who have already suffered for decades from armed conflict, displacement, oppression, corruption and bad governance have once again been cast into fear and uncertainty as a result of the dramatic developments over the past few days," said the WCC's Marianne Ejdersten.

"We pray especially for the women and girls of Afghanistan, that their dignity, rights and aspirations will not be denied again, but that they may have the access to education and to the rights and freedoms that they have been promised both by those in power and by the international community."

Ejdersten is the WCC director of communication, and spoke on behalf of Rev. Ioan Sauca, WCC acting general secretary.


The Taliban must respect the dignity and rights of all people in the territories they now control, she said.

Afghanistan's 2004 Constitution stated that country is an Islamic Republic with Islam as its state religion, which according to WEA left no place for religious freedom in the country.

The WEA noted that the Taliban is also known for the drug trade and human trafficking.

"The WEA calls on churches and believers to pray for the country, especially for Afghan Christians and others who are vulnerable, and those who have already fled or are trying to flee abroad," said evangelical group based in Dearborn in the U.S.

"We are very concerned about the recent developments in Afghanistan and the dire prospects for all those who do not fit within the Taliban's view of a society," said Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, secretary general of the WEA

"Women, who will be among those who have most to lose, will likely again be prevented from enjoying basic rights, including tertiary education, professional careers, and even freedom to move around on their own."

He noted, "What is less reported is the plight of religious minorities, including Christians, who have suffered severe oppression during the past 20 years and who are now at even greater risk."

Schirrmacher said that even before the arrival of the Taliban converts from Islam have been killed in areas under the former official government, and war lords who controlled part of the country, who are now losing their power and "were not much better,"

"In reality, all religious minorities suffer in Afghanistan and will suffer even more now – including Muslim minorities like the Shiites and those Muslims who have become followers of Jesus Christ."

From Kabul Catholic News Agency reported a Jesuit priest stranded in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country saying the situation is "changing" and "chaotic."

"The way the situation is changing in the country, it is anyone's imagination," said Father Jerome Sequeira, head of the Jesuit mission in Afghanistan, in a letter to friends and colleagues.

The priest said the mission has already suspended its activities across the country and has ensured the safety of all its staff.

Jesuit Refugee Service "has suspended all activities for an indefinite period of time, and all are hibernating in their homes or communities," wrote Father Sequeira.

"All flights are canceled and it all depends on the agreement between [the United Nations] bodies and the Taliban," he added.

Copyright © 2021 Ecumenical News