The sound of distant gunfire signaled to the citizens of Kabul, Afghanistan, that life was about to change. As the hardline Islamists entered the capital, there was no resistance. The speed at which the Taliban regained control after 20 years appears to have surprised everyone.
The military operation in Afghanistan, initially triggered by the war against terror following September 11, led to a nation-building exercise. Since then, trillions of dollars has been spent on infrastructure, education, and raising, equipping and training a national defence force. They were times of hope for the war-weary nation.
But hope is vanishing, particularly for Afghan women, who have good reason to fear the future as they will bear the brunt of this takeover. History has taught us that.
From 1996 to 2001, when the Taliban controlled Afghanistan with strict Islamic law. Women and girls were required to cover most of their body, including their face. They were prohibited from driving, attending school, working or leaving their homes unless accompanied by a man.
Already reports are emerging of 15 year old girls being recruited to ‘marry’ the Taliban overlords. Christians in Afghanistan also face persecution and even death at the hands of the Taliban.
As we watch the heartbreaking scenes from our safe shores, our natural reaction is to want to do something to help. In times like these it is good to remember that prayer is the most powerful weapon we have against injustice. Let the unfolding tragedy cause us to come before God on our knees with tears and sincere prayers.
Here are some prayer points to meditate upon even when the right words won't come…
- For the people of Afghanistan who are frightened and need to know the Prince of Peace;
- For our Christian brothers and sisters in Afghanistan that they may experience peace, strength, and courage in the coming days, and be a light for their community;
- For our Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he considers Australia’s response to the refugees needing a safe harbour;
- For our Australian soldiers from the 3rd and 17th Brigades based in Townsville as they coordinate Australia’s critical and dangerous evacuation mission;
- For the Taliban, that the Holy Spirit would work to bring about conviction in their hearts and minds;
- For those Australians who have served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, many of whom returned home with physical and invisible scars and may be wondering why.
In the face of the inescapable stark reality of the unfolding tragedy, many of us may experience despair or great sadness. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. Let’s bring our sadness to Him as we commit to pray for the people of Afghanistan.