There is not a single public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department, a stark reflection of the poor state of religious freedom in that country 10 years after the United States overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime. In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan’s new government, and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died there. The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report. Released in September, the report also notes that “there were no Christian schools in the country.” The government’s level of respect for religious freedom “in law and in practice,” according to the report, declined during the reporting period—July through December 2010—“particularly for Christian groups and individuals.” It said Christians are reluctant to speak of or practice their faith openly in the conflict-ridden nation.
Pictured right: The body of an Afghan man who worked for a Christian aid group is carried from a morgue in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 9, 2010.