Targeted Afghanis Tell American Intercessors: “You Are Our Hope”
While casting blame on Vladimir Putin as the source of all our woes, legacy media has largely forgotten the tens of thousands of Americans and U.S. support personnel left behind after Afghanistan’s government collapsed to Taliban control following the U.S. pull out. Many of our citizens and allies are still in the crosshairs over there. The Lord has kept this dire situation on the hearts of many, and rescues are ongoing.
The film Schindler’s List made public Oskar Schindler’s story of rescuing Jewish people from Nazi exterminators. For two of the modern Schindlers rescuing our citizens and allies from Taliban extermination, inspiration sprang from — of all places — a sitcom. While working on the set of What’s a Girl to Do Marty Angell and another member of the cast/crew, Bree (this is a pseudonym because there are Taliban in the U.S.) discovered there was a family targeted for destruction by the Taliban. They began to explore getting them out of the country. One day on set, Bree showed me a photo of a young girl standing next to a Taliban soldier with a gray beard. She told us the soldier had just received her as his wife. Though the man was beaming, the girl was looking at the ground in shame. Later, Bree left the set in tears.
I asked Bree what upset her that day and she texted that the young woman in that photo “attempted suicide, and another lady in the village who was pregnant was murdered in front of her children.” Praise the Lord, she updated me on that young woman: “She was kidnapped back from the Taliban, hidden in the mountains, and is now in Texas!”
That family that inspired the rescues is still hunkered in a basement. They want to leave together, so Angell’s team is working to get passports and visas for the half of the family who don’t have them yet. But in the meantime they’ve helped more than 40 escape to freedom in other nations.
One night Angell sent a text out to cast and crew of the sitcom letting us know a small group of Afghanis were very near to leaving the country. I hopped on a Zoom call you can see by clicking here to talk about the rescue mission and pray for them. Sadly that door closed.
While waiting for another open window for that group, Angell and his team were able to get a different Afghani out. This man escaped with his wife and two adorable daughters, and I was able to interview him at the Abu Dhabi International Airport, en route to another country. He talked about how he worked for the U.S. government in Afghanistan for almost three years. During that time he watched over Taliban prisoners, so he was absolutely a target. His face was in the system, so had they used facial recognition software when he left the country he would have most certainly been caught. This is a major miracle! The morning after we spoke he sent a video taken from the plane of the family landing in their new home country. For his protection I didn’t include that footage in the video since those who know the airport would know where he is now.
A few days later the group that missed the chance when they aborted the mission made it out of the country! Angell and I interviewed them shortly after their escape. They were ecstatic about Angell’s help. Unfortunately the recording was cut short, but several are hoping their families can join them, since they will never be able to return while the Taliban is in control. In the footage, we’re keeping the images and identities of most hidden, but they all served the U.S. and freedom in one way or another, including several who were helping the U.S. hold back the Taliban before its takeover.
One had been kidnapped and tortured by the Taliban, but miraculously Angell was able to work with people on the inside to help him escape.
Also among that group is Mirwais Headari, a television news anchor. You can hear him tell his story of how he spoke up at an event with the former president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani. Headari said, “I warned about the danger of the fall of the Afghan government. But Ashraf Ghazi’s bodyguards arrested me…. I was released… after… two hours. (They) could not detain me any more because all the media knew about it.”
During the takeover, while Headari was getting ready to go on television, Taliban soldiers approached him and told him what to tell the viewers. They actually went on camera with him and stood on either side of him, making sure he said what they wanted. He said he spoke in a way that kept him alive but still encouraged the Afghan people.
At one point I got to speak to a woman I’ll call Anousheh, which is not her real name because we need to protect her identity. I picked Anousheh because it means “everlasting or immortal.” The Taliban demanded that her father give her and her two sisters as wives to Taliban soldiers and her two brothers for soldiers. Their father said, “No.” Within days her brothers were kidnapped. One was left dead on their doorstep, and they haven’t heard from the other; they presume they forced him into military service imposing Shariah law over his own people. Angell said, “There’s 150,000 Taliban with guns and there’s 40 million Afghans who love freedom. And so the 150,000 with guns can remove the freedom and imprison and hold hostage an entire country of 40 million people.” After I prayed for her, Anousheh told me, “You are our hope.”
One night while filming the sitcom, we gathered to pray and sing praise songs. Angell had Anousheh on video conference with us. Afterward she told us how moved she was to hear us worshipping Jesus. She has not been rescued so far, but things are in the works. Pray for her rescue and salvation.
They want to know about this Christian love
Afghanistan has now surpassed North Korea as the most dangerous place on earth for Christians. One of the men who recently escaped Afghanistan confirmed Christians are not safe there.
Many whom Angell’s team are helping escape are not Christians… yet. Angell pointed out, “All of these poor Muslim people in Afghanistan have been totally, completely abandoned by all the surrounding Muslim nations. They know that. It’s the Christians who are coming to rescue them, and they want to know about this Christian love.”
A New Challenge
There’s been a recent wrinkle in the process. I’m a part of a group on Signal made up of rescuers, those who have been rescued, and those still targeted for destruction by the Taliban. On Sunday someone in the group whose name is in Arabic characters warned our group that the Taliban “is going to start shutting down all social media and probably communication apps.” With the known links between China and the Taliban, this seems like a credible threat, given the control China imposes on its citizens’ online capabilities. The Taliban already shut down over 250 media outlets in Afghanistan, and they shut down the internet altogether in the Panjshir Valley. Pray that lines of communication stay open between the liberators and those in Afghanistan they’re trying to set free.
Become a Schindler
Angell has devoted countless hours, many in the middle of our night, to help friends of the U.S. escape Afghanistan. He said, “This is our Schindler’s List.” He’s working to get his list as long as possible. He also said, “This is our Dunkirk.” When our army and our allies were trapped in that small coastal village in France during World War II, it was the civilians who got in their boats and sailed to the rescue of about 338,000 souls. Marty has reached out to many in the U.S. government, but he said, “Unfortunately our United States Department of State is slow walking it…. They’re giving a very difficult time to our people who have earned the right to be here for years. [These people] who put their lives on the line and their families and their names, and they’re being slaughtered to death, and the State Department doesn’t want to let even a fraction of those 100,000 people here…. Our own federal government has failed us… Why are they siding with the Taliban?” So Angell is calling upon us to help.
Janet Porter created the sitcom that launched this mission. The architect of the pro-life Heartbeat Bill and a candidate for Congress, she has stepped up to help save these lives as well. You can donate to this work through Janet’s organization, Faith2Action, at www.F2A.org. When donating, put “For Afghanistan Rescues” in the comments section that is available after you click Donate. Angell is encouraging churches to sponsor a rescue. Right now, besides Anousheh and the original family, there are two pilots among scores of others who have been vetted as our allies. They send him certificates with the U.S. flag on them, and he gets to know each of them personally before setting things in motion for their escape.
You can also visit IFA’s Pray and Act Afghanistan and give to our partner organizations at work there. Click HERE for more details.
Post your prayer for more targeted Afghanis to reach freedom and salvation…
Rich Swingle has taught and performed in 39 nations on six continents, mostly with his own one-man plays. He’s also performed in more than forty film projects. He and his bride, Joyce Swingle, another contributing writer for IFA, now have 37 screen children. The Swingles live in New York City. www.RichDrama.com. Photo credit: Getty Images.
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