08/13/2021, 15.45
AFGHANISTAN - ITALY
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Ali Ehsani: 'Christians already attacked in Kabul'

by Giorgio Bernardelli

From Rome, the exile, who wrote about his odyssey and the horrors of the Taliban, speaks about the current anguish of those who secretly live their faith in Jesus while the Islamists advance without encountering resistance. In Kabul a Christian man has gone missing. “Don't leave Afghanistan alone,” he pleads.

Rome (AsiaNews) – In Afghanistan, which is falling back into the hands of the Taliban, apprehension is also growing for the fate of Christians who live their faith underground.

While the Taliban are moving towards the capital after taking Herat and Kandahar yesterday, Ali Ehsani, an Afghan exile living in Rome, speaks about the anguish of one of the families of hidden Christians in Kabul after the father went missing without leaving a trace.

Ali Ehsani, now 32, recounted the horror of the Taliban and his personal odyssey in a book, Tonight we look at the Stars (in Italian). In it, he reviews his own suffering as an eight-year-old child when, in the 1990s, from one day to the next, he saw his home destroyed, left without the parents who had talked to him about Jesus, despite a thousand recommendations not to say anything to anyone.

Speaking about the Kabul family, he doesn't mention names so as not to endanger anyone, but his story is comprehensive. “This family in Kabul with whom I am in contact lost their father two days ago,” Ali said. “After leaving home, he never came back. Violence is rampant in the capital; they must have found out he was a Christian and attacked him.

“The wife and five children are now even more afraid; they 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. I would like to let Pope Francis know this story.”

For Christians, life in Kabul has been a lonely affair for years. “This family is of Turkmen origin, like myself,” Ali explained. “We met on WhatsApp through another Afghan student who lives here in Rome. He too is a Christian, but it took a long time before we found the courage to tell each other.

“In Kabul there are no churches, so a few weeks ago I tried to link this family via video call with a Mass here in Italy. They were delighted. For the past 15 days however, the climate has changed; they feel in danger.”

“For me, seeing what is happening in Afghanistan means reopening the wounds of my life. I remember very well the other children in Kabul who, to frighten me, said: 'Let's go and call the Taliban'. Today I see them destroying the lives of people who have nothing, cutting their throats in front of their relatives. What kind of people are they?” In view of this, he pleads: “Don't leave Afghanistan alone.

“The central government is unable to control the situation. On the other hand, the Taliban have countries that support them – Pakistan, Iran and China are helping them economically, materially and politically – in order to wipe out the Western presence in Kabul.

News of the funerals of Pakistanis killed fighting in Afghanistan can easily be found in local media, while the atrocities against civilians multiply. In the occupied provinces the Taliban are trying to intimidate girls aged 14 and older to be 'donated' to guerrilla fighters.

The international community cannot remain indifferent; it must act with sanctions against those who support the Taliban. Even in Afghanistan everyone must be able to live in peace, free to express their faith, the one Ali received precisely in Kabul.

“My parents always put an extra plate at the table for guests,” he remembers. “I said to them: 'We are poor, how can we have others?’ My father replied: ‘Jesus shared everything with others.’ Then I asked: 'Who is Jesus?' And he said: 'We are Christians.’ Not a word more.”

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