In the wake of the Taliban takeover, women, children, and minorities including Christians face a dire threat to their safety and their future. SAT-7 PARS provides a place for Afghans to voice their fears and find comfort in a community of believers around the world praying for them.
Our hearts break for women in Afghanistan, who face the loss of everything they have gained in the past 20 years. I am also reminded of images of the happy faces of girls and boys going to school, knowing they had a chance of a future – a future now in jeopardy. SAT-7 PARS’ women’s programming, which shows Afghan women their true value in God’s eyes, equal to that of men, has become more important than ever, as have the children’s programs that offer hope and help children turn to God in hard times.”
─ Rita El-Mounayer, SAT-7 CEO.
Mariam, an Afghan woman who appeared on a special live program for Afghanistan on SAT-7 PARS, told how her 17-year-old niece in the country was so frightened following the Taliban takeover that she fainted. “I don’t want to be subject to the rule of such people. I want to go to school and study. To go to university. What kind of future can I have in a country that is ruled by the Taliban?” Mariam’s niece later told her.
On the August 23 program called In Pursuit of Hope, Mariam describes conditions under the previous Taliban rule as making Afghanistan a “prison” for women unable to leave their homes without a male relative, access education, or work. Today’s Taliban initially promised that rights would be at least somewhat preserved. But a statement released by the group on August 24 urged women to stay in their homes, supposedly for their own safety. There are also isolated reports of fighters whipping and urinating on women and children to humiliate them.
Children in Afghanistan also urgently need our prayers, especially those caught up in the turmoil in Kabul. “The destructive impact of these events is first and foremost on children,” says Parisa, a psychologist who also appeared on the live program. “The effects on them of the fear and anxiety can be of a magnitude beyond repair.”
The live program shared a video of the touching prayers SAT-7 PARS has received for children in Afghanistan from children in Iran. “I want to say to Afghan children who are watching – you are not alone,” says Rahel*, Audience Relations Coordinator for SAT-7 PARS and co-presenter of the program. “There are children in Iran who are praying for you and love you. One day we will be able to hold one another’s hands and will praise God together that these difficult days passed.”
“We are children of light”
Minorities, including ethnic Hazaras and Christians, are also especially at risk. Some believers have reported receiving death threats. There are also isolated reports of fighters checking phones for Bible apps, and one report of a Hazara Christian being killed on the spot when one was discovered. Some are even receiving threats from their own family members, as they seek to distance themselves and gain favor with the Taliban.
In Pursuit of Hope began with spiritual guidance for Christians in the region from presenters Rev. Mo Sanavi and Rahel. “This is a time when the very sky seems to grow dark above us. But we can come together and worship the Lord and bring our requests before Him,” said Mo. He also urged viewers to take Christ as their example. “According to the norms in our society, the response when someone harms you is to curse them and wish death upon them. But Jesus Christ says, ‘seek their blessing.’ We who are the children of light must be different.”
In addition to two special live programs produced to support Afghanistan, SAT-7 PARS broadcasts two Christian programs in Dari, the version of the Persian language spoken in the country. The channel also produces several regular women’s programs, and two especially for children, in Farsi, which is also easily understood by Afghans.
*Name changed for security reasons