08/21/2021, 03.15
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After AsiaNews report, Afghan Christian family is safe

by Giorgio Bernardelli

The family landed today in Rome after an airlift from Kabul organised by Italy. Starting with Ali Ehsani's appeal published by AsiaNews, the Fondazione Meet Human took charge of the case of this group of “hidden believers” whose father disappeared a few days ago. The rescue “might be a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made up of drops.”

Rome (AsiaNews) – A little over a week ago, when no one thought that Kabul would fall so quickly into the hands of the Taliban, AsiaNews reported the story of Ali Ehsani, an Afghan exile and writer, who spoke about the violence against “hidden Christians”.

“[T]hey move from area to area. They want to leave the country but have no one to help them. I am looking for a humanitarian channel that can help them,” lamented Ehsani, as the Taliban push became ever more real.

At the time, Ehsani spoke of the tragedy of those underground Afghan Christians who, among a thousand difficulties, lived their faith in Jesus, in a country where, even before the latest tragic turn of events, Christianity was only accepted as a religion of foreigners.

As a Christian, Ehsani had fled Afghanistan in the 1990s at the tender age of eight with his brother after he saw his parents killed and their home razed to the ground. Now, as he kept in touch with the family in Kabul with whom he had been in contact for months, he relived his own story.

A week ago, “They had not heard from their father for two days. Even his wife and five children are in danger, they must have discovered them.”

If we mention this story, it is because, amid Afghanistan’s tragedy, we can say that at least P.G., the children and some other close relatives are now safe. They landed in Rome’s Fiumicino airport today, brought out on an airlift organised by the Italian government to rescue Italian nationals and Afghans at risk.

“They bring with them all the pain they left behind,” Ehsani explained. “They have not had any further news about their father for the past ten days. It would have been too dangerous for them to stay in Kabul.”

What made their evacuation possible was the commitment of those who read the AsiaNews article and decided not to remain indifferent.

A few hours after publication, we were contacted by the Fondazione Meet Human, the youngest branch of the Bergamo-based Fondazione San Michele Arcangelo, which is dedicated to solidarity in developing countries through education and work.

“We heard the story. It will be very difficult, but if you want, we can try to do something for them,” President Daniele Nembrini told AsiaNews.

AsiaNews immediately put him in touch with Ali Ehsani, who continued to knock on every door on behalf of these people with whom he was constantly in contact in Afghanistan, sharing their anguish.

Thanks to the Fondazione Meet Human, which accepted responsibility for this group of people once in Italy, Italian authorities included the Christian family of Kabul, which includes eight minors, in the lists of people to be rescued.

However, the problem remained of getting them to the Kabul airport, an operation that was successful on Thursday thanks to the information provided by Ali and the work of the Italian military.

Today they arrived in Rome and will be placed in quarantine at a military facility, before they start their journey with the Fondazione Meet Human.

“We are grateful to Italian civilian and military authorities for this complicated and demanding rescue operation,” Nembrini said, “not to mention the many people who worked for its success. It might be a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made up of drops.”

As for us at AsiaNews, this story has once again reminded us of the importance of being the voice of the voiceless, but also of how extraordinary our readers are, aware that the tragedy of Kabul's "hidden Christians" will not end with this family.

“Now they will have to try to overcome the fear and suffering they went through,” Ali Ehsani told us today. “But there are certainly many more families like theirs still in Kabul.”

Now it is up to us not to forget them.

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