|% Urban:||26.3 %|
|Population Under 15 Yrs:||42 %|
|Official Language:||Pashtu (used by 50% of population), Dari (Afghan Persian, used by 70%)|
|Literacy Rate:||32 %|
|HDI Ranking:||169 / 189|
|% Christian:||0.1 %|
|% Evangelical:||0 %|
|% Largest Religion:||99.9 %|
|Least Reached People Groups:||67|
|% Unevangelized:||81 %|
|Persecution Ranking:||2 / 50|
The re-conquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2021 came as a shock to many. The USA/NATO withdrawal was followed by the swift collapse of the Afghan government forces under Taliban advances. Within four months of the first foreign troops leaving, all opposition to Taliban forces had surrendered or fled the country. These events led to the suspension of humanitarian aid to the needy people of Afghanistan, the reintroduction of much harsher Islamic laws, the intensified persecution (and even manhunt) of Christians, and the emboldening of Islamist movements elsewhere against what they perceive as a weak and failing Western world. There is so much to pray for; above all, pray that God preserve the lives of Afghans so that they might hear the good news of Jesus.
The status of women deserves special prayer. Virtually all progress made from 2001-2021 has been undone by the Taliban since September 2021. Women are once again all but banned from participating in public life. Numerous women die in childbirth in Afghanistan because many cannot receive healthcare from male doctors. One-third of women suffer from physical violence. Widows face very difficult circumstances, and suicide is common. Special radio programmes share with women from the Bible, about the love and value God holds for them. Female literacy had improved from 11% in 1979 to over 55% in 2018; perhaps this will enable more Afghan women to read material that will lead them to Jesus. Pray for justice and freedom from gender-based oppression, and especially that women might find the true freedom that comes only through Christ.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.