I come before you today with a heavy heart, one that is filled with sorrow, particularly regarding the state of affairs and the on-goings in Afghanistan in these past few weeks following the Taliban’s state capture on August 15.
Oh God, the desperate scenes of chaos, panic and tragedy evidenced at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul have been unbearable to watch. The graphic images of people clutching onto plane wheels as aircraft took off and those of babies and toddlers being passed to soldiers over razor-wire fences simply can’t get off my mind.
I pray for the victims (at least 90 Afghans dead and 150 others wounded) of the August 26 suicide bombing that occurred outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport. May You bless the souls of the dead and since You’re the Greatest Physician, I also kindly ask that You heal those still nursing wounds and bring strength to their bodies.
For the incoming Taliban government: May You give them wisdom to make the right decisions; wisdom that will enable them connect a country that is deeply divided by ethnicity, religion and political views; and wisdom that will give hope to the millions of people torn apart by the drastic effects of war, hunger, poverty, and diseases.
God, I ask you to mercifully protect the Afghan children, women and all other individuals mostly at risk. UNICEF reports that since the start of 2021, more than 550 children have been killed while 1,400 others have been left with serious injuries.
With each and every passing day, the flaring conflict in Afghanistan continues to take a great toll on the country’s children. UNICEF further predicts that without urgent action, 1 million children under the age of 5 will be severely malnourished by end of the year.
I pray against the discrimination and mistreatment of Afghan women and girls. Right now, there are real fears over women’s freedom to work, to dress as they choose, and to go to school. And while recent policy announcements by the Taliban spokesmen have appeared to be reassuring, many people remain skeptical.
Father, it will be extremely hard to convince people such as Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 after she defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. Malala miraculously survived!
Whereas she went on to become the youngest person – at the age of 17 – to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, her wounds, especially the psychological ones, are still fresh and open.
Of course, not so many girls in Afghanistan have been as fortunate and lucky as Malala. But let love and forgiveness reign in the hearts of all, and that the spirit of hate no longer finds foothold in this country. God, please intervene with Your mighty power because we know that human efforts alone cannot compel love of a neighbour.
For the Americans and their NATO allies; May You help them understand that war isn’t always the answer. I wish they had listened to the prophetic words of congresswoman Barbara Lee – the lone house member who voted against the authorization for the use of military force in 2001 – who said in her now famous speech:
“We must not rush to judgment. For too many innocent people have already died…If we rush to launch a counterattack, we run too great a risk that women, children, and other non-combatants will be caught in the crossfire…We must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target”.
God, what Barbara Lee said above is exactly what has happened after nearly 20 years of war in Afghanistan. The military miscalculations have led to a massive human cost. Research by Brown University estimates losses in the Afghan security forces at 69,000. It puts the number of civilians and militants killed at about 51,000 each.
In his speech on July 8, 2021, the United States President Joe Biden made it clear that, “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build…the United States did what we went to do in Afghanistan: to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden…We achieved those objectives”.
But if President Biden’s words are anything to go by, Father, my question is: Why has it taken them another 10 years to depart Afghanistan when their principal target, Bin Laden, was eliminated in 2011.
Today, as Afghanistan starts a new chapter under the Taliban rule, serious questions are already being asked about how the group will govern the country, and what their rule will mean for women, human rights, and political freedoms.
I pray in faith that You change their hearts and behaviors. May they stand guard over all citizens, including their opponents and the powerless. May they stay true to their word and respect the “Doha Agreement” and all other peace pronouncements made. Help them not to squander this opportunity, God.
Be gracious to those who have fled from the violence, poverty and rejection in Afghanistan. May You protect and keep them safe. But for those who are willing to return home, may You grant them a safe passage back to their country.
You’re surely a God of peace. I choose to recognize and to believe that You’re able to accomplish even far more, and to do far greater things than we can ever imagine. I thank you in advance for your miracles, goodness and the abundance of blessings You have in store for the Afghan people.
In Your mercy, hear this prayer. Amen.
Mr. Mukalazi is the Country Director of
Every Child Ministries Uganda.