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Christianity in South and Central Asia$
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Kenneth R. Ross, Daniel Jeyaraj, and Todd M. Johnson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474439824

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439824.001.0001

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(p.95) Afghanistan
Christianity in South and Central Asia

Anthony Roberts

Edinburgh University Press

With Turkic and Tajik peoples to the north, Tajiks and Pashtuns in the west, ethnic Hazaras in the central highlands and the Pashtuns to the south and east, Afghanistan’s diversity stems from its history as a regional crossroads. Christianity began in Afghanistan in the fourth century and was later revived by missionaries in the frontier areas, but there was little concerted effort to spread the faith until after 1945, when the Pashtun monarchy sought to modernise Afghanistan. However, the Soviet invasion prompted fighters to repel the forces under the banner of Islam. Amidst a civil war, Christian NGO’s continued until expelled by the Taliban in 2001. The new government allowed Christian NGO’s to expand into new areas of the country. For the sake of believers’ security the most visible fellowships have been limited to foreigners. Most find it difficult to sustain everyday life in the country while openly professing Christianity due to ostracism from society. While Islam has been linked with Afghan identity, worldview has begun to change. Unfortunately, there has been an exodus of Afghan believers, usually after social and legal ostracism. Nevertheless, due to sacrifices by Afghan believers, the church is growing in numbers despite all the challenges.

Keywords:   Afghanistan, NGO, Christianity, Taliban, Islam, Afghan

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