A member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to save 228 Christian missionaries who need to leave Afghanistan.
As the Taliban has gained control of Afghanistan, over 10,000 American citizens and Afghans fleeing the country are desperately attempting to evacuate.
In light of the Taliban takeover, Ian Paisley, a member of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, spoke before the House of Commons on Wednesday, emphasizing the importance of getting missionaries to safety.
“He [Johnson] will be aware that there are 228 missionaries in Afghanistan who are currently sentenced to death; those missionaries must be removed from Afghanistan,” Paisley added, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
“Would the prime minister promise the House that every effort will be made to return those whose lives are in danger as a result of the disaster and foreign policy incident that has occurred in that country?”
Johnson, for his part, said the government would do “all we can” to properly evacuate individuals from Afghanistan, promising to resettle at least 5,000 Afghans and maybe as many as 20,000 in total.
“I’m sure colleagues across the house, literally every member I imagine, has received messages from people who know someone who needs to get out of Afghanistan, and I can assure the right honorable gentleman that we are doing everything we can to help those people out of that country, to whom we owe a debt of obligation.”
“I can inform the House that we have so far secured the safe return of 306 UK nationals and 2,052 Afghan people as part of our resettlement scheme, with a further 2,000 Afghan applications completed and many more being processed,” Johnson continued.
On the same day, Northern Ireland Executive First Minister Paul Givan and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill issued comments expressing their support for Afghan refugees.
Givan stated that the “pain and suffering we observe in Afghanistan” among individuals desperate to flee Taliban rule is “really significant.”
“Northern Ireland has not failed to meet the needs of individuals seeking sanctuary or escaping persecution. Northern Ireland took in more than 1,800 people in the aftermath of the Syrian conflict, a higher proportional share than anywhere else in the United Kingdom, according to Givan.
“Yet, the scenes in Afghanistan have affected us all once more. I am encouraged to see political parties working together to address the current crisis. We are resolved to engage with our various societal allies and fellow administrations to provide whatever shelter we can.”
Open Doors USA, a Christian persecution watchdog group located in the United States, ranks Afghanistan second on its list of the worst nations for Christians to live in.
“It is impossible for a Christian to live openly in Afghanistan. “Leaving Islam is considered disgraceful, and Christian converts face terrible penalties if their new faith is discovered,” Open Doors declared earlier this year.
“All Christians in Afghanistan face a high risk of persecution. The Taliban-controlled areas are extremely repressive, but there is no secure way to practice any type of Christian faith in the country.”