Kabul: Taliban clash with women's rights protesters
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And the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Parliament is accusing the EU of turning a blind eye to their plight – as well as warning of potential disaster if swift action is not take to protect them. An ECR spokesman stressed the 63-strong group of MEPs was “particularly concerned” after the desperate scenes which followed US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all troops by August 31.
They risk being subjected to severe violence by the Taliban
He explained: “Even before the withdrawal of Americans and other allies from Afghanistan, these minorities found themselves professing and living their religions in a hostile environment.
“Now, they risk being subjected to severe violence by the Taliban.”
An estimated 10,000 people have converted from Islam to Christianity in Afghanistan, which is – according to Sharia law advocated by the Taliban – a crime punishable by death, the spokesman pointed out.
He added: “Despite great difficulties, since 2001 – with the arrival of NATO forces – the Christian community has grown and strengthened.
“However, since Kabul fell, the community has dispersed, rightfully fearing repercussions as worrying reports of killings, harassment and intimidation of Christians emerge.”
Many such Christians would be forced to emigrate to neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, whose blasphemy law “claims new victims every day”, the spokesman said.
The current situation had serious implications for religious freedom, he emphasised, explaining: “We fear a repeat of the Syrian scenario, where Christianity has faded, reducing from 1.2 million followers ten years ago to an estimated 550,000 in 2021.”
Turning his attention to the European Union and other Western agencies, the spokesman said: “We feel that there has not been enough attention from the international community regarding this matter.
“Hence, we call for stringent conditions to be imposed on the Taliban before sitting down at any negotiating table that may lead to the recognition of their government, especially on the issues of women and religious minorities.
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“In light of this tragedy, the proposed solution are so-called ‘humanitarian corridors’.
“These are not a sustainable option and would be yet another defeat for Afghans – among them, Christians and women – who must be free to live peacefully in their homeland without being forced to emigrate.
“Therefore, we expect new and realistic solutions primarily from the United Nations, but also the European Council, the G7 and the G20, which do not include a mass evacuation from Afghanistan.”
The Statista website puts Afghanistan joint top of its Index of persecution of Christians in countries worldwide 2021 with a score of 94, matched only by Kim Jong-un’s North Korea.
The dangers faced by the country’s Christian minority were highlighted recently by Open Doors UK, a charity dedicated to countering Christian persecution in more than 60 countries worldwide, including Afghanistan.
Brother Samuel, Open Doors Field Director for Asia, said on its website: “These are uncertain times for Christians in Afghanistan. It’s absolutely dangerous.
“We don’t know what the next months will bring, what kind of implementation of Sharia we will see, but we continue to ask you to intercede for our brothers and sisters.
“They are facing insurmountable adversity. We must pray without ceasing.”
Speaking to Reuters last month, Taliban commander Waheedullah Hashimi said: “There will be no democratic system at all because it does not have any base in our country.
“We will not discuss what type of political system should we apply in Afghanistan because it is clear. It is Sharia law and that is it.”
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