Complete with imagery not seen since 1975 and the fall of Saigon, the government of Afghanistan capitulated to the Taliban over the weekend, leaving the country in chaos.
Following a recent announcement by the U.S. that a troop withdrawal was to be concluded by August 31, Taliban fighters began to rapidly advance through the country with devastating speed.
Afghan military forces provided little resistance, resulting in almost total Taliban control of the country and causing Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee. On Sunday, the Taliban took over the presidential palace in Kabul. On Monday, it declared, “the war is over.”
The rapidly deteriorating situation in the country caused the Pentagon to send 7,000 troops back into Afghanistan to secure Kabul’s airport and evacuate U.S. citizens still on the ground.
Of particular concern for Christians is the harmful impact the Taliban’s takeover will have on women in the country.
After Taliban fighters entered the nation’s capital, one image emerged from Kabul of a man painting over an advertisement of a woman in a wedding dress.
And according to BBC anchor Yalda Hakim, at Herat University, which is now under the control of the Taliban, women reported that “when they tried to enter the grounds of their university today they were told to go home.”
“Women working in offices also turned away. Schools have been shut down. Sixty percent of university students in Herat were women,” Hakim added.
One veteran of the War in Afghanistan told The Daily Citizen that he was worried about the immediate negative impact the takeover will have.
“The Taliban is a brutal regime,” he said. “Despite any claims their spokesmen may make, the situation for women, individuals that cooperated with the U.S. and NATO forces, and the few non-Muslims in Afghanistan will undoubtedly take a turn for the worse. In particular, the hard-won advances in women’s rights, from education, to business, to social freedoms will likely be reversed quickly.”
Christians should also be aware of the toll the fall of Afghanistan could have on veterans of the war.
In a statement to The Daily Citizen, a second veteran of the War in Afghanistan said, “I believe we must be cognizant that many veterans may be reaching out for help as they feel torn over how to react to the withdrawal and subsequent takeover of Afghanistan.”
“The one solace that veterans from Afghanistan should take, however limited it may be, is that they helped to prevent attacks on the U.S. homeland from Afghanistan for 20 years. One of my hopes is that we can provide some form of assistance to those affected by the takeover, especially the Afghan women and children who are losing family members to the fighting,” he added.
What can we do help?
We should all certainly be in prayer. Please pray for the women, children and individuals that have assisted U.S. and allied forces over the years, that they may be spared from violence and retribution. Pray also for the conversion of the Taliban fighters to Christ, and for the safety of the U.S. troops who remain in the country.
If you’re a veteran and feel a need to talk with someone, please reach out for help. Focus on the Family provides free, one-time counseling consultations with a licensed or pastoral counselor. If you would like to request one, you can call 1-855-771-HELP or fill out a Counseling Consultation Request Form here.
Photo from Reuters