D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 1
Ancient documents claim that the Apostle Thomas preached in the northern region of today’s Afghanistan in the first century. In 424 a bishop was located in Heart. By 585 dioceses were established in Kandahar, Balkh and other regions.
Muslim armies first entered Afghanistan in 642. Islam was adopted as the state religion in 1295. The Church was almost totally eradicated during the murderous reign of Timur (1336-1405). By the 20th century Christianity in Afghanistan was little more than a distant memory—a belief of foreign infidels.
Italy was the first country to recognize Afghanistan’s independence in 1919. It was rewarded by being permitted to build a chapel in its embassy complex. The construction was completed in 1933. Italy is in the process of moving its embassy to Qatar.
In 1959 in return for America granting permission for a mosque to be built in Washington, President Eisenhower asked Afghanistan’s King Muhammad Zair Shah, to permit a church to be built in Kabul for Christian diplomats. Permission was granted. On May 17 1970 the building was completed and dedicated as a “House of Prayer for all Nations”.
To fight against the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan (1979-1989) Mujahedeen commander, Mullah Mohammad Omar formed the Taliban. They had been strengthened by money and armaments supplied by Saudi Arabia and the USA. This was channeled through Pakistan. With the Soviet withdrawal the Taliban became one of a number of insurgency forces seeking to fill the power vacuum left in the Soviet’s wake. They succeeded capturing Kabul in 1996 and remained in power till the US led invasion of 2001.
The US invaded ostensibly to defeat Al Qaeda who was using Afghanistan as a terrorist training base. Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin-Laden, having been required to leave Sudan, had found a new base in Afghanistan from which to lead his fight against the USA. He was attempting to draw America into a war to drain it financially. The event of 9/11 in New York was the trigger for much of what followed. With the death of bin-Laden on May 2 2011, instead of declaring “mission accomplished”, America and its allies stayed on to fight an unwinnable Taliban insurgency.
To be continued.