Afghanistan is entering a critical period. At least four countries — including China and Russia — have established diplomatic ties with the Taliban, even though all refuse to “officially” recognize the 8-month-old government.

According to one security expert, “this is a slow back-door way for nations who don’t care about human rights or seek to exploit Afghan resources to confer more power on the Taliban.”

“The Taliban didn’t change at all since 20 years ago, but one thing is changed – they learned how to manipulate; how to talk to the world and do whatever they want,” says Hossein*, an Afghan believer working with Heart4Iran.

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Meanwhile, terrorist threats grow daily. United States intelligence reports say both al-Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Khorasan (ISIS-K) are gaining strength. The number of al-Qaeda forces increased in Afghanistan following the U.S. troop withdrawal in August.

Furthermore, an economic crisis and human rights abuses continue on the ground.

“It was difficult for the believers before, but it gets more difficult (today). They (Taliban) are searching the [houses] door to door; they have a checkpoint everywhere, checking the phones, the apps, the messages,” Hossein says.

“I saw a video just a couple of days ago, and they (Taliban) [were] beating someone who didn’t [go] to the mosque.”

Nonetheless, hope remains. “People still stand for the Lord. Many people left the country, but [there are] still many (believers) inside the country,” Hossein says.

“Afghanistan is not done. The Lord can use even the Taliban for His glory.”

From an undisclosed location, Hossein and his wife disciple believers in Afghanistan. Ask the Lord to protect “secret believers” inside the country. “This is the most [important] prayer request for us,” Hossein says.

“I listened to the voicemail from one believer; it was so encouraging to me. He said, ‘They (Taliban) can take everything from us, but they cannot take the love of God. They cannot take our faith.’”

Pray Gospel workers will have wisdom and discernment. Pray the Lord will call more believers to join their team. “We need to grow our team to serve better,” Hossein says.

“We need to invest more [so believers will] become a disciple, not only believer; because the believer can be easily changed, but when they become a disciple – that is different.”


This story originally appeared at Mission Network News and is republished here with permission.