The United Stated Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its recent press release has expressed grave concerns about severe deterioration of religious freedom deterioration in Afghanistan. This report, published on Tuesday, August 23 says that the situation of religious freedom worsened since the Taliban took over.
The USCIRF release highlighted a “severe decline” in religious freedom since the Taliban takeover, which poses a greater risk to the religious minorities even to the extent of “extinction.” Ever since the Taliban took over reign of the country, they have enforced a strict Sharia law which has adversely affected Afghans who do not adhere to that interpretation. “The Taliban’s imposition of their narrow interpretation of Sunni Islam poses a grave threat to the religious freedom and all Afghans who do not subscribe to that interpretation. The Taliban’s harsh enforcement of its religious interpretation violates the religious freedom of minorities, women, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) community, Afghans with differing interpretations of Islam, and Afghans who follow no religion,” USCIRF maintained.
The USCIRF further stated the Taliban administration has failed miserably to safeguard the religious minorities in the country. “Despite continued promises to protect all ethnic and religious communities residing in Afghanistan, the Taliban de facto government has been unable to provide safety and security to religious minorities against attacks from Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K). While some religious minority communities face the threat of extinction, others struggle to practice their faith in hiding due to fear of reprisal,” USCIRF release said.
Previously, the USCIRF in its Annual Report 2022, has recommended Afghanistan to be designated a country of particular interest. USCIRF recommended the U.S. Department of State to designate Afghanistan CPC, for particularly “engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, as defined by IRFA.” USCIRF has also previously highlighted the Hazara Community in Afghanistan which is endangered, and the Christians who are facing ‘extreme danger in Afghanistan.’