Claims on the internet that the Taliban have slaughtered more than 200 Christians in Afghanistan were quickly dismissed as “fake news” which has been circulating for more than four years.
There are scarcely any Christians in the country. Following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pope St John Paul II established a Missio sui iuris there the following year, operating from the Our Lady of Divine Providence chapel of the Italian Embassy in Kabul, the only Catholic church and parish in the land and serving a flock of just 205 people among 27 million Muslims. Until the recent crisis, about a hundred attended Mass each week and they were overwhelmingly drawn from the international diplomatic community.
The Missionaries of Charity of St Teresa of Calcutta also offered a visible presence of the Church as they serve the poor of the Afghan capital along with the inter-congregational Pro Bambini of Kabul Association, founded in 2006 by Guanellian missionary Father Giancarlo Pravettoni following a papal appeal of 2001 to save Afghan children. Most of the work of the association was aimed at the education of up to 40 disabled children, who are often abandoned by their families.
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