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Kabul has become a very, very busy place 18 months after Afghanistan was liberated. The city is full of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that hope to help Afghans rebuild their devastated country.
Many Christian organizations have registered here with the government since the fall of the Taliban in 2002. But the situation for religious minorities is a bit complex. The U.S. State Department recently said that the situation has improved significantly for religious minorities. In one way this is true. Previously, if any Afghan was found with a Bible, the Taliban would have at the very least tortured him and put him in prison. If he had confessed to being a Christian, they would certainly have killed him. After Afghan workers for Christian groups were accused of being Christians, the Taliban were constantly threatening to kill them.
I had an old rabbi in my office yesterday. He is the only Jew left in the whole of Afghanistan and he guards the synagogue here in Kabul. I sat with him probably for two hours and he shared all the terrible things he went through during the Taliban time. He was very severely beaten at least five times and was imprisoned in Kabul's infamous Pul-e-Charkhi prison for more than 50 days. While they beat him, they demanded he become a Muslim. But he refused. Several times they threatened to kill him. He suffered a lot and showed me signs of severe beatings. It was sad to see this man who is very poor and hardly has enough money to eat. We will see how we can help him. I went to see the synagogue, where he lives, and found it terribly run down. He told me that he felt quite free and he even wants ...