Chris Lange, FISM News
The Taliban in Afghanistan announced a travel ban late Sunday night prohibiting anyone from leaving the country as they continue their door-to-door security sweep. The extremist group said they are conducting a “clearing operation” to search for weapons and people accused of crimes like kidnapping or robbery; however, many believe they are hunting down Afghans that have any ties to the U.S. and those they deem to be living contrary to their extremist Islamic rule, including Christians, according to Persecution International Christian Concern.
“I have to say clearly that persons who leave the country along with their families and have no excuse…We are preventing them,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
The Taliban espouses ancient Shari’a law, a particularly harsh and restrictive interpretation of Islamic law affecting women especially, and forbidding the practice of any other religion, which is considered apostacy.
“If they (women) want to travel abroad, they should have a chaperone,” Mujahid said, adding, “This is the order of Islamic Shari’a law.”
The extremist group is claiming the new crackdown has been implemented to protect Afghan citizens. “We want to assure the residents of Kabul that these operations are not against the common people,” said the Mujahid, ominously adding that “residents of the city should be confident the search is going on carefully.”
The ban is particularly concerning to Christians and Afghan citizens still clinging to the hope that they will be evacuated following the abrupt and catastrophic withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, effectively ending the 20-year-war that saw the U.S. and its allies topple the Taliban-ruled Islamic Emirate. Many Afghans risked their lives providing crucial assistance to U.S. troops, including vital intelligence reports and interpretation services, and were promised asylum in America. Thousands, however, were left behind following the withdrawal that resulted in the Taliban takeover.
“Initially we had said that the Americans could take people whom they had any concerns about, but this is not a continuous promise,” said the spokesman.
Citizens without ties to the U.S. have also tried to flee amid a severe economic crisis brought on by the Taliban takeover which resulted in the suspension of humanitarian aid.
The enforcement of Shari’a law has intensified the persecution of believers who are the subject of manhunts and executions, according to Operation World. Open Doors recently named Afghanistan as the most dangerous country in the world for Christians.
Concerned believers around the world are united in praying for the preservation of life in Afghanistan so its citizens might hear the good news of the Gospel of Christ.