Afghan Christians Should Be Granted Priority 2 Status
09/16/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – Since the withdrawal deadline of August 31, 2021 in Afghanistan, stories of persecution continue to emerge, showing that the Taliban are anything but the promised gentler, gentler administration. September 6, Daily call reported that an Afghan policewoman, who was 8 months pregnant, was killed by members of the Taliban in front of her husband and sons. On video, his son Mohammad said he and his family members were tied up and forced to witness the Taliban murdering his mother with a knife. Several sources published videos of women being whipped and beaten surrounded by Taliban personnel. Many American pastors attest that they have lost contact with members of the underground church and fear that they will now be martyred.
To compound the violence, Afghanistan is experiencing a humanitarian crisis where food is scarce and inflation rises in an already failing economy. Matias Perttula, Advocacy Director for the ICC, said: “The first signs, in terms of human rights, do not look good for Afghanistan. Time magazine also wrote, “The United Nations estimates that up to 18 million Afghans, nearly half of the country’s population, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including food and shelter. Reuters said food could run out by the end of September, putting nearly 14 million citizens at risk of starvation. They also report that banks restrict cash withdrawals and ordinary citizens sell personal items on the streets.
Although security has improved over the past two decades, Afghanistan has remained a dependent nation. The majority of Afghanistan’s income has been foreign aid. The Heritage Foundation records that the economy in Afghanistan improved in 2020 but declined as the region’s national security declined. The think tank ranks Afghanistan 33rd out of 40 countries in the Asia-Pacific region for economic freedom, ranking just three places above the least free states. Heritage and the World Bank in Afghanistan both admit the fragility of the country’s economy, stressing the relationship between national security and business formation, employment, job creation, monetary policy, restriction of foreign investment and lack of fiscal policy enforcement. The economic situation can only get worse as freedom diminishes.
UN member states recently pledged $ 1.2 billion in aid to humanitarian relief efforts in Afghanistan after a meeting chaired by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called for the help last Monday. ICC also stressed the need for increased support from NGOs. However, increasing refugee acceptance quotas and granting priority 2 status to persecuted minorities is another policy option. Finally, given the level of danger in the region, the evacuation of people in serious danger should be a priority objective.
Currently, the US State Department grants P-2 status to “certain Afghan nationals and their eligible family members”, Not specifically including Christians and other religious minorities facing violence and death. The Ethics and Religious Freedom Commission recently reminded the Biden administration of its initial commitment to admit 125,000 refugees in 2021 and pledged logistical support to resettle Afghan refugees. With threats to the life and liberty of the Taliban and the economy, the United States must now grant P-2 status to Christians and religious minorities.
For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].