NATO Defense Ministers Meet to Discuss Afghanistan

Christian Minorities Remain Vulnerable to Taliban

10/21/2021 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that NATO member Defense Ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss the ongoing security concerns coming out of Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban in August. The Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces created a context in which the Taliban rapidly took over the country, developing an ongoing security crisis both locally and globally. Attendees at the meeting will discuss preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists and making sure that the evacuated Afghan citizens will resettle in NATO countries.

“I’m here to help advance NATO’s military adaptation, and ensure the alliance is prepared for the challenges of the future,” tweeted U.S. Defense Secretary Austin after he arrived on location Wednesday. “The most urgent role NATO has, and the most immediate task we are faced with, is to resettle Afghans who worked with us… And NATO allies and NATO partners were able to get more than 120,000 people, many of the Afghans, out of Afghanistan. And we still, allies and partners, are still working on how to get more people out.”

The meeting comes as many Afghans are still searching for a way out. These include religious minorities, especially Christians, who are under direct threat from the Taliban due to their status as apostates in the eyes of the Taliban. The Christian population is composed almost entirely of converts from Islam who practice their faith in a loose network of house churches throughout the country.

As the Taliban began to take over the country, reports of Christians receiving threats quickly surfaced.

“Some known Christians are already receiving threatening phone calls,” a Christian leader told ICC in the days after Kabul fell to the Taliban in August. “In these phone calls, unknown people say, ‘We are coming for you.’”

The fear within the Christian community is only growing. The world leaders at the NATO meeting must generate sustainable solutions for these at-risk Christians and other religious minority communities that will likely be targeted by the Taliban.

Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy for ICC, said, “NATO and the international community have an opportunity to stand up for human rights in Afghanistan and ensure that Christians and religious minorities do not fall victim to the Taliban. Human rights must continue to be a driving factor in the new approach to Afghanistan.”

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