By Alejandro Bermudez
The stories of Afghan rescues are compelling human dramas, filled with miraculous rescues, deadly dangers and heroic choices on the part of volunteers and Afghans.
But these stories can also compromise future rescue missions.
A major American magazine recently published a story about how Christians are trying to stay safe in Afghanistan and how a group of vulnerable women got out of it. The story, while inspiring, was very damning as it revealed strictly confidential information that jeopardized the ability of Christian organizations and other humanitarian organizations to rescue vulnerable Afghans, including Christians. The story was quickly erased, but not before some real damage was done.
“It doesn’t matter how user-friendly a post is – that’s not the problem,” Jason Jones, founder of the Vulnerable People Project and one of the organizers of an Afghan rescue team, told CNA.
“Here’s the problem: We know the Taliban is monitoring the Western media. They are keeping an eye out for anything that might happen behind their backs in Afghanistan, especially anything involving Western organizations and minority groups. “
Celebrating heroic successes in the media, in fact, makes future success less likely.
“Since August 13, our team and other partners have succeeded in extracting vulnerable people from the region, often just in time to avoid suffering the unthinkable at the hands of the Taliban,” Jones said. At the same time, he added, “We have also seen our share of grief.”
This is the paradox of the current rescue of Christians in Afghanistan: many people would like to know what is going on and, for those who are financially supporting relief groups in the hope of helping these vulnerable populations, how their donations are being used. But at the same time, in order to be able to save those lives, details and even generic information must be kept away from the public, as this information can end up in the hands of the Taliban.
“Everyone loves a breathtaking adventure story. But too often those who help desperate Afghans flee Taliban terrorism have carelessly revealed details of border crossings, shelters and other dangerous details, ”religious freedom member Lela Gilbert told CNA. international at the Family Research Council.
“Worse yet, ambitious journalists have written haphazardly about high-risk illegal travel. Not only does such writing put specific people in grave danger, it also limits the options of future evacuees, ”Gilbert explained.
“The issues of life and death must be carefully covered up – and remain so,” Gilbert added.
“The work is endless, especially for our people in the field, and requires 24/7 vigilance,” Jones said.
“But it’s an enigma. All the work is made possible by the generosity of donors, of course. But sharing the stories of the people we are working to extract – or those we have already extracted, thank God – would put many lives at risk. Not only the lives of the people we help, but also the lives of their families, their communities at large, and even entire religious and ethnic minority groups. “
The majority of private efforts to save Afghans focus on the many left behind who have worked and lived hand in hand with the US military and special forces. Far fewer resources have been devoted to the specific rescue of Afghan Christians, who represent a small portion of Afghanistan’s 38 million inhabitants, with an estimated population of 12,000.
Many of the facts of this effort, of how to find Christians, control them, and find ways to get them out of Afghanistan and ensure them a permanent place where they can live freely, cannot be returned. public, precisely because they work successfully. , those who are engaged in this work stress.
“We know everyone involved looks forward to the day when they can show their faces, openly share their heroic stories and give glory to God for all the good that is done,” Jones said.
“We pray for an end to all of this. But for now, we will continue to hold on and will not rest until we have accomplished what we set out to do: serve vulnerable people to the limits of our abilities, ”he continued. .
“Until then, the information we can share can be found on TheGreatCampaign.org. Please pray for us!