Volatility in Afghanistan ended in more than 3,700 civilian casualties
According to a report from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), accelerated instability caused more than 3,700 civilian deaths since August 2021
Christians in Afghanistan face fervent persecution since the Taliban have imposed their repressive Islamic regime. The Taliban government claims that “security forces of the Islamic Emirate oblige themselves to ensure security of the citizens and take timely action on uprooting the safe havens of the terrorists”.
The published report emphasized “an increase in the lethality of suicide attacks since. . . with a smaller number of attacks causing a greater number of civilian casualties.” Attacks carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS) ensued over 1,700 casualties. More than 700 of the civilian deaths were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted in public places such as mosques, education centres and markets.
Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2011, the Taliban were supposed to negotiate with the Afghan government to prevent al-Qa’ida (AQ) and ISIS from initiating “safe haven” in the country. Analysts pointed to the CIA drone strike that killed Ayman al-Zawahiri—the leader of AQ after U.S. forces killed Usama bin Laden in 2011—as evidence that the Taliban were in fact providing “safe haven” to AQ members.
The disengagement of the U.S. was a result of an agreement signed in early 2020. The U.S. Government ran a counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban as part of the Global War on Terrorism for almost 20 years.
The U.S.-backed Afghan government fell to Taliban military, which lead to widespread domestic and international ramifications. Most Afghan Christians fled the country or went into hiding, facing death if discovered. All Afghan Christians come from Muslim-backgrounds and are vulnerable to severe human rights abuses because Sharia law penalizes conversion away from Islam.
According to a United Nations Security Council assessment from 2022 “There are no recent signs that the Taliban has taken steps to limit the activities of foreign terrorist fighters in the country. On the contrary, terrorist groups enjoy greater freedom there than at any time in recent history”.