by Marshall Ramsey II, Worthy News Correspondent
HERAT PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Worthy News)-- Afghani Christians are warned of "dire consequences" should American forces leave Afghanistan, Worthy News has learned. "If U.S. troops are not in Afghanistan the Taliban will come to power," said Obaid S. Christ, an Afghan Christian exiled to India, said last Tuesday. "We will have the same situation we had in the 1990s when the Russians left Afghanistan, when we had civil war and millions killed."
Mr. Christ fled Afghanistan after an Islamic court issued a warrant for his arrest after converting from Islam to Christianity in 2007. Not his real name, Obaid S. Christ changed his name to what it is now following news of the warrant.
Mr. Christ has acknowledged that the U.S. backed government of President Hamid Karzai has not been friendly toward Christian converts either. Early this year, two civilian courts passed a death sentence on two jailed Afghan Christians after converting to Christianity from Islam. Only after international pressure and a jailhouse visit by U.S. and European diplomats, were the two released from prison and allowed to leave the country. The two now reside in Europe.
KILLED FOR CHRIST
While this is bad enough, a more recent, and much more violent, incident occurred which left a very clear message to anyone who thinks of turning from Allah to Jesus Christ. A video obtained by WORLD Magazine shows a man being beheaded by four men claiming to be Afghani Taliban. Abdul Latif, somewhere in his 40's, was kidnapped from his village outside of Enjeel, a town south of Herat.
The video, approximately two minutes in length, show Mr. Latif being pinned to the ground while his kidnappers, wearing suicide vests and kaffiya head scarves to cover their faces, recited verses from the Quran. "You who are joined with pagans, your sentence is to be beheaded," one of the militants read from what looked like a paper decree. "Whoever changes his religion should be executed." The passages refer to Sura 8:12 ("I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks...") and the hadiths, or sayings, of Mohammed.
As Mr. Latif fought with his captors from the ground, one of the militants thrust a medium-sized blade in the side of his neck. The men then began shouting "Allahu Akhbar," or "God is great," until Mr. Latif was fully beheaded and his head placed upon his chest.
BEHEADINGS NOT UNUSUAL
The brutal killing of Abdul Latif is not the only beheading captured on video. Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was videotaped being beheaded in Pakistan in 2002, and U.S. defense contractor Nick Berg underwent the same thing in Iraq in 2004.
Speculation has arisen that the killing of Mr. Latif coincided with a Taliban-incited mob attack on a UN compound in Mazar-e-Sharif in April of this year that followed the March burning of Qurans overseen by American pastor Terry Jones in Florida. An estimated 4,000 Afghans poured into the streets of Mazar-e-Sharif and marched on the compound, killing 10 UN officials, and, according to reports, beheaded two of them. This was followed by an attack in May by the Taliban on the Provincial Reconstruction Team headquarters in Herat (then under Italian control,) where they killed four people and injured more than 38. Both of these cities were considered among Afghanistan's safest until the incidents, and slated to be the first areas turned over to all-Afghan control.
Many Afghans, like Obaid Christ, criticize the Karzai regime, but would rather have him in power than see Taliban influence and renewed fighting among tribal groups return. "At least you cannot fight with each other now," said Christ. "Now you have people from different tribes in the government, but we don't know what will come after."