The former US Secretary of State has said that Afghan Christians may face mass killing at the hands of the Taliban. Mike Pompeo, who served in the Trump administration, said that the situation is "likely to become a genocide against Christians" if no decisive action is taken by the US government.
"The humanitarian crisis that is developing as the Taliban returns to power is likely to become a genocide against Christians if the Biden Administration does not act," he wrote in an article for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
Pompeo expressed concern about reports that suggest the Taliban has a list of Afghan Christian converts and is going door to door to hunt them down.
The report, published by Global Catalytic Ministries, shared details about the experiences of the Afghan underground church as the Taliban sweeps the country.
“Our people are on the move, running from house-to-house and city-to-city to avoid getting caught," a church leader was quoted as saying. "Unfortunately, many Afghans are calling out the location of people in hiding to gain favour with the Taliban. The situation is dire for our people as they are witnessing women and girls being taken from their homes as prizes for the Taliban and being raped.
"The streets of Kabul are nearly empty. There are NO women or girls walking around, Afghans are no longer wearing western clothes, and our leaders of the underground church have been stopped at the borders by the Taliban. Even though our leaders have been threatened, not one has been hurt or killed."
The recent uptick in incidents of Christian persecution across the country is "only just beginning", Pompeo said. "Given that many of them are Muslim converts – a crime punishable by death under the dictates of Shariah Law which the Taliban has openly embraced – the possibility of there being a genocide against Christians in the wake of this withdrawal is extremely high," he explained.
There are estimated to be 5,000 to 12,000 Christians currently living in Afghanistan.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) called the situation "harrowing" and called for "robust, coordinated action" from UN member states to protect religious minorities. The group also urged member states to suspend the deportation of rejected Afghan asylum seekers who fear persecution if they are sent back.
Giorgio Mazzoli, ADF's Legal Officer at the UN in Geneva, said: "The harrowing prospects for freedom, democracy and the rule of law, compounded by a deepening humanitarian crisis, are forcing thousands of Afghan men, women and children into displacement within the country, and compelling many more to seek escape from persecution and oppression."
He added: "As disturbing accounts of killings, harassment and intimidation against them are rapidly emerging, we urge [UN member] states and the international community to give utmost attention to these persecuted minorities and guarantee the conditions for their prompt and safe exit from the country, irrespective of whether they have valid travel documents."
In 2020, Pompeo was involved in a peace settlement between the US and the Taliban, part of which involved the militant group cutting all ties with terror group Al-Qaeda - the terrorist faction responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
At the time, Pompeo urged the Taliban to "keep your promises to cut ties with al-Qaeda", while President Trump warned that if the Taliban harboured terrorists, the US military would respond "with a force like no-one's ever seen".