Afghan Christians prevented from leaving, now in hiding
By Arsenio Toledo // Aug 27, 2021

Afghan Christians who are likely to be persecuted by the Taliban due to their faith are being turned away at the airport in Kabul.


According to the White House, the United States and its coalition allies have evacuated nearly 88,000 people out of Afghanistan since the end of July on U.S. military and coalition flights.

But tens of thousands of people are still stuck in Kabul and looking for a way out, including many U.S. and Afghan citizens alike. (Related: Majority of Americans do not believe Biden is competent, most also opposed to his handling of Afghanistan fiasco.)

"I was told by contacts from various groups working to recuse those still in danger in Afghanistan – who must remain anonymous – that the State Department at least at a certain point was not implementing the lists that they require the organizations to compile, even though they have sent them multiple times," said Faith McDonnell.

McDonnell is the director of advocacy at an Anglican nonprofit ministry group. Her organization is working to get Afghan Christians in danger of being oppressed by the Taliban out.

Christians and other religious minorities in Afghanistan are at extreme risk of being persecuted by the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban.

Religious minorities of Afghanistan, like Christians, have not been given priority access to evacuate. Many organizations have called on the administration of President Joe Biden to broaden the groups it classifies as eligible for priority access to evacuation flights.

"It seems at present as if no one is getting any priority unless they have some sort of special connection inside the airport," said McDonnell.

She added that many organizations working to get Afghan Christians out are being forced to load different people than those on their passenger manifests.

"Others have reported that at times, one government agency is rejecting people that another government agency has approved and tried to bring into the airport," she said.

Nina Shea, a senior fellow and director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the conservative think tank the Hudson Institute, provided a similar account.

"I've started receiving panicked emails from Afghan Christians through their Western contacts," she said. "They are not being allowed to board [U.S. government] flights in Kabul. I'm advising them to try to board Glenn Beck's flights instead," she said in an email.

Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck's nonprofit organization, the Nazarene Fund, has raised more than $28 million to evacuate Christians from Afghanistan. The Nazarene Fund has also acquired 20 large aircraft that can airlift as many as 7,000 people.

As of press time, his organization's flights have airlifted some 1,200 Afghan Christians out of the country.

Charmaine Hedding, president of the Israel-based nonprofit the Shai Fund, is also focused on getting Afghan Christians. Many of the people she is trying to help come from Muslim backgrounds and converted to Christianity later in their lives.

She said one family she is trying to get out is actively being hunted by the Taliban.

"They received a letter from the Taliban before they even closed down the whole of Kabul saying 'we know who you are; we know where you are.' So, they've got them on a list and they're hunting them down."

Remaining Christians in Afghanistan are now in hiding

Estimates suggest that there are between 3,000 to 12,000 Christians in Afghanistan in a nation of around 38 million people. Many of these Christians have already been flown out thanks to the efforts of private aid organizations. The rest have been driven underground.

"There's a lot of fear and uncertainty given the Taliban takeover of the country," said Will Stark, South Asia regional manager of International Christian Concern, a nonprofit advocating for the rights of Christians around the world.

Stark said Afghan Christians are particularly terrified of what the Taliban will do to them since most of them are converts from Islam.

"Even under the previous government, conversion from Islam was considered very shameful and could have fairly dire consequences for individuals who became Christians," said Stark. "Taliban ideology is much more fundamentalist and extreme."

"There's a real concern amongst Afghan Christians that targeted killings will start happening because of their status as Christians."

Learn more about the situation in Afghanistan and the Taliban's takeover of the country by reading the latest articles at

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