World Watch Ranking: 10

What does persecution look like in Afghanistan?

In the years since the Taliban took power in August 2021, Afghanistan has at least had some level of political stability—but that stability has extended to crushing pressure and violence against minority groups. As far as the Taliban are concerned, there are no Christians in Afghanistan. Most house churches that existed before the Taliban (even if they had to be hidden) have been closed, as believers were forced to flee or go even further underground.

When the Taliban came to power, they did so with pledges to recognize more freedoms than in the past. But that hasn't happened—if an Afghan's Christian faith is discovered, it can be a death sentence, or they can be detained and tortured into giving information about fellow believers. The surrounding society and family structure has no room for religious freedom, and the government upholds this rigid stance. This means Christians—almost all of whom are converts from Islam—must keep their faith secret, or they may simply disappear.

Thousands of Afghan refugees live in countries bordering Afghanistan, often in poor conditions in camps for displaced people, and many Christians are among them.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Although the Taliban has their roots in southern, eastern and northwestern Afghanistan, the entire country is ruled by a strict interpretation of Islam. This means that Christians in Afghanistan face difficulties wherever they are. The level of hostility that Christians can face from their families and communities is consistent across the country. Additionally, any Christian refugees forced to return from neighboring countries will find themselves in a significantly dangerous situation without any support network.

Meet "Yasaman"

“Some people grew suspicious of my husband’s [Christian] activities. Early one morning, as he went to buy bread, two people followed him. He was attacked and killed near our home.”

Yasaman, a secret believer in Afghanistan

What has changed this year?

Unfortunately, little has changed in Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to hold the country and roll back any limited freedoms gained under Afghanistan's previous governments. Many Christians fled the country during the Taliban takeover; those who remain either couldn't get out, or feel called to remain. This means there are fewer chances of fellowship than before, and the church has been driven underground even more than before. Christians—almost all of whom are converts from Islam—continue to practice their faith in secret. They know that if their faith is discovered, it will likely result in their oppression and even death. Apart from the Taliban, families and tribes harshly punish any semblance of Christian faith. In short, followers of Jesus live under constant risk.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Afghanistan?

Open Doors works through partners to strengthen Christians from Afghanistan. We cannot provide details about how we support them, as the situation is too dangerous. But we can say that our brothers and sisters desperately need our prayers.

How can you pray for Afghanistan?

  • Please pray that secret believers will be protected from harm—and they will sense the prayers of their brothers and sisters around the world.
  • Ask God to touch the hearts of the Taliban leaders, and any other extremist who would oppress Christians. Pray that God would reveal the truth of Jesus to every person who opposes Him.
  • Pray for Afghan refugees. Many are in countries where it's still difficult to follow Jesus—and difficult to live comfortably. Ask God to help refugees find relief, and for the surrounding countries to allow refugees to work, attend school and worship freely.
a prayer for Afghanistan

Father God, we pray for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. They risk so much to follow You, and so much of their faith has to be hidden. Protect them from harm and give them a sense of belonging. Help them know they are not the only followers of Jesus in Afghanistan—guide them to find other Christians and keep that fellowship safe. Help them as they endure constant pressure from their families and communities, that they would know how best to live out their faith. We pray for those who feel called to remain in Afghanistan, that You would make a way for them to be salt and light in their environments and that You would keep them safe. We pray for those who have fled. Please bring them Your strength and peace. Things seem so hopeless in Afghanistan, Father, but we know You are a God who can bring hope. We trust You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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Persecution Level


Persecution Type
  • Islamic oppression
  • Dictatorial paranoia
  • Clan oppression

Population of Christians
Thousands (Open Doors estimate)

Main Religion

Islamic Emirate

Hibatullah Akhundzada

topic: Afghanistan / blog: 28cc488d-769a-40d2-a8b6-54575e1e7e78 / postid: a3c9b055-6a9e-ee11-be37-6045bd90b4d5 / results: