The stories of Afghan rescues are compelling human dramas, filled with miraculous saves, life-threatening dangers, and heroic choices on the part of volunteers and Afghans alike.
But those stories also can compromise future rescue missions.
An important U.S. magazine recently published a story about how Christians are trying to stay safe in Afghanistan and how one group of vulnerable women got out. The story, though inspiring, was very damning because it revealed strictly confidential information that jeopardized the ability of Christian and other humanitarian organizations to rescue vulnerable Afghans, including Christians. The story was quickly taken down, but not before real damage was done.
“It doesn’t matter how friendly a publication is — that’s not the problem,” Jason Jones, founder of the Vulnerable People Project and one of the organizers of an Afghan rescue team, told CNA.
“Here’s the thing: We know that the Taliban watches Western media. They keep tabs on everything that might be happening behind their backs in Afghanistan, especially anything involving Western organizations and minority groups.”
The celebration of heroic successes in the media, in fact, makes future successes less likely.
“Since August 13, our team and other partners have had success after success in extracting vulnerable people from the region, often just in time to avoid suffering the unthinkable at the hands of the Taliban,” Jones said. At the same time, he added, “We’ve seen our share of heartbreak, too.”
That is the paradox of currently rescuing Christians in Afghanistan: Many people would like to know what is happening and, for those who are financially supporting rescue groups hoping to assist these vulnerable populations, how their donations are being used. But at the same time, in order to be able to save those lives, details and even generic information must be kept away from the public, because that information can end up in the hands of the Taliban.
“Everybody loves a heart-stopping adventure story. But too often those who are assisting desperate Afghans flee Taliban terrorism have carelessly revealed specifics about border crossings, safe-houses and other dangerous details,” Lela Gilbert, fellow for international religious freedom at the Family Research Council told CNA.
Read more at Catholic World Report