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Afghanistan withdrawal puts Christians at risk

After U.S. troops leave, the country could become an Islamic state


A U.S. soldier at the scene of a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2013. Associated Press/Photo by Anja Niedringhaus (file)

Afghanistan withdrawal puts Christians at risk

NEAR EAST

Afghanistan: A senior administration official said President Joe Biden has decided to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11—ending a 20-year war on the anniversary of the terror attacks that launched it. The move comes as the Taliban has rejected the terms of a State Department peace plan. It likely will lead to the reestablishment of an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan, along the lines of Taliban rule prior to the 2001 U.S. invasion. For fledgling movements of Christian believers in Afghanistan, a U.S.-NATO pullout will be “disastrous,” say sources familiar with the situation. Iran: The alleged Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility targeted an underground electrical substation and damaged “thousands of centrifuges,” Iranian officials have revealed. Iran on Wednesday informed the International Atomic Energy Agency it will raise the enrichment of uranium closer to bomb-grade level. Iraq: A tireless advocate for Assyrian Christians and aid to those escaping Islamic State (ISIS), Ashur Sargon Eskrya, has died from COVID-19. Turkey and other countries face revived pandemic-related restrictions with the start of Ramadan. Frontiers, Open Doors, and others offer Ramadan guides for Christians to pray for the Muslim world throughout the month.

ASIA

India: In the midst of a second wave of coronavirus, the country hit its highest daily tally of infections and surpassed Brazil as the second most-infected country behind the United States. China: The Dispatch has a good rundown of the U.S. Senate’s draft bill on China, which will fund democracy promotion in Hong Kong but fall short on combating forced labor practices in Xinjiang.

AFRICA:

Nigeria: Eight Christians abducted last month in Kaduna state have been freed.

EUROPE

United Kingdom: “Human challenge trials'' begin in Britain, the first country to approve deliberately infecting healthy volunteers with the coronavirus. Initial volunteers so far are doing well. Given the controversial ethics of such experiments, here’s how past challenge trials have gone. Royal family: The April 9 death of Prince Philip revives questions about the future of the British monarchy. Germany: As the link between AstraZeneca and blood clotting becomes clearer, it is creating difficult decisions for European countries and others that depend on on the vaccine. Belgium: The U.S. pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, after six recipients developed rare blood-clotting issues and one died, complicates the picture for global distribution, coming just as delivery of it and the AstraZeneca vaccine begins in Europe. Northern Ireland is seeing the worst violence in a decade as it prepares to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the U.S.-brokered pact that stopped decades of civil strife between Catholics and Protestants.

AMERICAS

Haiti: Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe has resigned in the wake of a surge in crime that has left the country on edge. On Sunday, kidnappers demanded $1 million ransom for seven Catholic clergy they abducted. Mexico: A mishmash of policy and messaging is fueling the worsening crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border—a ground report from my colleague Sophia Lee.

I’M READING The Secular Creed by Rebecca McLaughlin.


Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine’s first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run From ISIS With Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C.

@mcbelz

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SAWGUNNER

When the USA defeated both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan we declined to hand the task of drafting new constitution for those nations to former Nazis or ex henchmen of the Emperor. It was odd then that we let the Iraqis and Afghans each draft constitutions enshrining Islam as THE religion of those nations. As the mechanics like to say "There's your trouble." … This causes me to weep when I think of those I have known personally who gave so much (even "the last full measure") to assist the Afghan peoples to establish at least a quasi democratic nation. With such folks as them-- premodern, tribalist and deeply Islam-- setting up anything like a modern Western style democracy is a fool's errand. We're about to see Saigon 2.0 with a surge of refugees flooding into another US dependency, Pakistan.

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