We rescued children from the Taliban and fear there are many more to come

Mahwish and Alishbab lived in a public toilet and scavenged for food thrown out by restaurants and bakeries before being rescued.(Photo: One by One)

We have read about the horrors of the Taliban regime for a long time, but it came close to home just last year when our small team headed to the Afghanistan border to the very town where Osama bin Laden had been hiding for several years before being gunned down by American forces.

Even getting there was an ordeal – our team had to be secretly smuggled in the back of a car, wearing local clothing to cover their white skin as they arrived late at night to meet some of the children we had the opportunity to help.

Upon arrival, the horror stories soon followed.

Mahwish, aged nine, and Alishbab, eleven, were left orphaned following war troubles and were found living in a public toilet. The girls were smart enough to know that if the Taliban found them, there was a strong chance they'd end up as child brides. They were running for their lives and found safety in the public toilets. They survived by eating food thrown out by restaurants and bakeries.

Then there was Abiya, who at five years old was caught up in a bomb blast and witnessed her father being shot and killed by a Taliban soldier. She too had nowhere to go.

Thankfully, these three make up six of the girls being taken care of by our King's safe house in North Pakistan. We have been able to step in and support the girls, giving them education, clothing and food. The Christian family appointed to look after them are raising them in such a loving atmosphere. It couldn't be more different to the atrocities they previously faced.

Sadly, these are just six of potentially thousands of children who are likely to be displaced, orphaned and traumatised if recent Taliban control continues to increase. After decades of military help from America and the UK, Afghanistan has now been left undefended and with a violent extremist group left to run riot and take control. The media reports this week have shocked us all.

Many are fearful of what life under the Taliban will bring.(Photo: DW)

Imagine the fear that at any moment your home could be raided, your daughters raped and taken away and your sons killed in front of your eyes. It sounds like a horror movie, but this is the reality that many in Afghanistan and nearby Pakistan are currently facing.

On my two visits to this part of the world, I have been appalled and devastated by the stories I've heard. Just this year a three-year-old girl was raped and killed in a brick factory and her body dumped. Sadly we got there too late. Another girl aged nine, in our Sunday School programme, was also raped. Thankfully she survived and is now recovering.

Whereas certain government leaders seem to have abandoned Afghanistan, we can't and won't do the same. The gospel propels us to 'go'. It's not an option. "Woe to me if I preach not the gospel," said the Apostle Paul. I agree with him. Our Sunday School teams in Pakistan are now sharing the gospel with 1,000 children every week.

We all saw the reports of several people who lost their lives after clinging onto the side of an aeroplane in a desperate attempt to escape Afghanistan this week. Hundreds more are gathered at the airport trying to get out. But what about those who can't?

We are in daily contact with our partners on the ground, speaking to pastors who work in Afghanistan as well as our team in Pakistan.

One By One continues to rescue children across the world. We are currently making plans to expand our safe house in Pakistan and rescue more children. Some will be freed from working in brick factories and others may be victims of war crime. Whatever the circumstance, we want to be there. We want to offer hope and we want to carry the love of Jesus to these horrendous situations.

Please pray for our workers on the ground and that God will give us the wisdom about what to do. If not us, who? If not now, when?

Becky Murray is the founder of One By One. See www.onebyone.net for more information.