The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban terrorist organisation, one of Biden’s three major failures so far, is having a ripple effect that is travelling around the globe, although we know little about this remote country. Afghanistan may be poor, but it does have natural gas reserves and a range of valuable mineral deposits of interest to Russia, China and the West. IsraelUnwired ran a recent article entitled: “The Fall of Kabul, The Collapse of America, and the Coming Storm for Israel”. This gives us an idea of the strategic significance of events sweeping through the region.

As far as Bible readers are concerned, Afghanistan has a place in history such that, though it is not mentioned directly in the Bible, it does have a role in the outworking of Bible prophecy. For example, the location of modern Afghanistan was once a part of the Persian and Greek empires. This fact in itself tells us that Afghanistan is incorporated in the image of the latter day empire with clay feet seen in vision by king Nebuchadnezzar and recorded in Daniel chapter two.

Brother John Thomas in his Exposition of Daniel, page 81-82, mentions “the Kingdom of Babylon as it is destined to exist in its last form under the King of the North in his Gogian manifestation” will comprise Russia, Europe, Persia, the Roman Africa and Egypt. He then says, “This will be a dominion of great magnitude, extending from the North Sea to the wall of China and Afghanistan, and from the Ice-Sea to the deserts of Africa and Arabia”. This is a vast territory stretching from West to East and North to South. In Brother Thomas’ day this must have seemed an impossibility. Today we can see that his remarkable prescience seems very likely, especially when we read the news headline, “The Next World War Begins In Afghanistan” (IsraelUnwired, 17 September 2021). Such an empire cannot be overcome by Britain and the Commonwealth, but it will fall under the feet of Yahweh Tz’vaoth, the Lord of hosts.

I cannot say how securely the territory was held by the Persians and Greeks, but we do know that, like Iran, Afghanistan is very mountainous and has deserts. It is therefore well nigh impossible to master and hold, even by modern armies. The saying by the local populace is that when God built the world, He had a lot of rocks left over, so He dumped them in Afghanistan. It takes tough, independent tribes to live there.

History

For such an apparently isolated place, Afghanistan has a long and chequered history. Over millennia armies have tried to subdue it but without real success; consequently Afghanistan became known as ‘the graveyard of empires’.

Why is this so? Because Afghanistan lay in the middle of the important Silk Road from China, India and Asia to the Middle East and Europe. The capital, Kabul, was, and still is, an important way-station in an otherwise isolated region.

In the 6th century BC, Cyrus the Great established Persian rule which was further consolidated by Darius the first. Later, Alexander the Great conquered Afghanistan before he moved on to India in 327BC.

In the late 19th century, the boundaries of the country were settled in the context of British/Russian rivalry. Interestingly, Britain invaded Afghanistan in 1838 with mixed results. 1878 saw a second British invasion which lasted until 1881. By 1893 the country was a buffer between British India and tsarist Russia. Yet a third Anglo-Afghan war was a part of the Great War (World War I) and lasted until 1919, a year after the first world war finished.

After World War II the Soviet Union vied with the US for influence. This led to an invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet Russia from 1979 to 1989. Russia found it impossible to fully control the country and suffered considerable losses. The country’s economy sank under communist rule and a ruinous civil war from 1989 to 1992. In 1990, the Taliban managed to steal large quantities of bullion and currency, thereby bankrupting the country. The economy got even worse under mujahideen and Taliban government from 1992 to 2001.

The Taliban theocratic regime fell to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda movement in December 2001. In late 2001, the US army moved in to overthrow al Qaeda and to try to bring some control. In some measure the US eventually succeeded and the Taliban largely retreated into Pakistan. But, as we know, against all advice, President Biden ordered the remaining US army to leave at the end of August 2021, in one of the greatest debacles the world has ever seen. Biden’s impending move had also caused NATO troops to evacuate. The terrorist organisation was left with over 80 billion dollars worth of military equipment, which is more than that held by a number of countries around the world. The US has no stomach left for any more military peacekeeping adventures.

Of more significance to us, is the fate of our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. Some have been executed; others are in hiding or fleeing for their lives. Let us not forget to pray for them.

Present geopolitical realities

Decades of war has devastated the population of Afghanistan, which is 80% Sunni Muslim. There are very, very few older people; 47% of the population are aged under 15 years. The educated have fled, as have a very large number of refugees. It is expected that possibly millions of refugees will attempt to reach the West from Afghanistan. Who will take them in? How will the West cope with so many who have an entirely different culture? It is too early as yet to see the final result of such calamitous mismanagement that led to the Taliban take over. However, some developments on a world scale can be seen which heightens our understanding of the working out of Bible prophecy. We live in such exciting times.

Let us consider the geopolitical reality of America for a moment. America began its war on terror after the fall of the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001. Seemingly, that war on terror has now ceased, as anarchy, encouraged by the Democrats, has overtaken American cities. Corruption in the political system, coupled with the devastation of COVID-19, has brought America close to collapse, according to some commentators.

This, in itself, is significant because although it was not traditional Christadelphian understanding of prophecy, some see America as having replaced the position of Tarshish, the leader of the young lions in Ezekiel 38:13. In fact, as expected, it is Britain that is beginning to take a global role and is contending with Russia. On 30 August, an English Daily Expressheadline said, “‘Brexit Britain has to step up’. UK called to act on world stage as Biden ‘unable to lead’”. Because the US can no longer be trusted, Britain has been provided with new opportunities as it redefines its post-Brexit standing. The UK has even been urged to help further the Abraham Accords as Biden tries to undo all that President Trump achieved (Jewish News, 15 September 2021).

As with the three British invasions of Afghanistan in the past, modern developments must be seen in the context of what became known as ‘the Great Game’, the attempt to prevent Russian expansion southwards, which would divide Britain from India and its Southern Commonwealth.

As mentioned above, the IsraelUnwired news service ran a headline on 17 September which read, “The Next World War Begins In Afghanistan”. Whilst the previously mentioned IsraelUnwired headline “The Next World War Begins in Afghanistan”, this is not true because the next world war will begin over Israel, it does point to the growing instability in the region, which will not be resolved until the Lord Jesus Christ has appeared with his saints to rescue Israel from annihilation at Armageddon (Dan 12:1). In other words, the headline does indicate to us that what has happened in Afghanistan is an event that we should take serious note of, because it is another significant failure leading to the great day of God Almighty. Soon there will be “time no longer”.

This article continues, “The West is in a process of disintegration. Its culture is empty and politicians lack the ideological acumen to keep their countries going in a competitive way”. America’s pull out from Afghanistan has broad implications on Central Asia and the future of the world, which is a warning from heaven to the ecclesia of God to get ready for the coming of the judge of all the earth. Our culture in the Truth must not be empty and lacking in ideological acumen, which is gained by reading and understanding God’s Word.

Is this an exaggeration? No! A further headline in this article is, “The Taliban Impact: Pakistan and China Vs India, Russia and Iran Over Influence in Afghanistan”. It mentions that “China has pledged 31 million dollars in humanitarian funds to the Taliban”. What is China’s interest? One interest is to check India, another is the vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan. Most important for China are the lithium deposits said to be the most in the world. China needs them for its lithium battery production.

“Russia and India along with Iran make up the other grouping. While this is far from an alliance, the three see the Taliban a danger for increased terrorism in their country. Pakistan and India hate each other and Russia wants to check China now. Iran sees any long-term conflict or chaos resulting in the destabilizing of their own fragile hold over their citizens.”

It is worth mentioning at this point that Pakistan is a nuclear armed power, which also has a significant number of brothers and sisters. We might feel secure from any threat from instability in a distant world, but our brothers and sisters do not have the same security—or apparent security—that we enjoy. Enjoy may not be the right word here. It is that very security that is eating the heart out of the brotherhood. The perilous times of the last days have come (2 Tim 3:1).

A further article from IsraelUnwired, on 15 October, mentions that the debacle in Afghanistan may bring the end of Biden’s presidency. The article continued, “The West is in collapse. The Chinese Dragon is not only rising but spreading and the Russian Bear is resurgent. While America grapples with such things as transgenderism and reparations, the rest of the world is reeling from a lack of competent leadership”. How true!

I have no doubt that there will be many millions of survivors of Armageddon who, though not believers now, will be only too relieved when the not just competent but perfect leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ is established in Jerusalem.

China

IsraelUnwired had another interesting headline on 14 October, which read, “Biden’s Mistake In Afghanistan Leading To A Broader Conflict In Central Asia”. The article continues, “This may seem unimportant, but Biden’s failure in Afghanistan is leading to a cascading series of events that threaten to widen the current conflict”. This is true as we will see. The Taliban itself has said that China gave them the logistical support they needed that led to their takeover of Afghanistan. So China expects to be the primary beneficiary.

Meanwhile, Pakistan was playing a double game. It accepted US support whilst at the same time materially supporting the Taliban. The US foolishly ignored this duplicity.

The IsraelUnwired article continues, “With all of this, Afghanistan now becomes the main point of convergence for the global powers in a Great Game that is increasingly moving towards a World War. If China and Pakistan win out, the pressure on the West will be immense – after all China will be free to put all of its energies into taking Taiwan”.

Given that Chinese fighter and bomber aircraft have been testing Taiwan’s defences by daily flying over the island, and have even dropped a few bombs in the north, China’s takeover of Taiwan seems quite likely. China’s trial runs have shown them that the rest of the world will not interfere, especially if Russia invades Ukraine at the same time!

I have long wondered how China could be involved in Armageddon, but no longer. Today, China is heavily involved in the Middle East, and is seen to be attempting to dominate the world by control of the economy of so many countries including those in the West. China’s pressure upon Australia, for example, has caused Australia to order atomic powered submarines. A move that China, who is trying to dominate the western and southern Pacific Ocean, has vigorously condemned.

The Australian purchase of atomic powered submarines is part of the AUKUS alliance (Australia, UK and US), which is much more than just about submarines. Global Britain is taking shape.

Russia

China is not specifically mentioned in Bible prophecy but Russia certainly is. Whilst the world has been troubled about COVID-19 and China, Russia has had a free pass. The UK, seemingly uniquely, has constantly stated that Russia is ‘our number one threat’ as its submarines circle Britain. But Russia has a problem with the Taliban. Russia’s fear is that terrorism will enter Russia from Afghanistan. Although Russia has kept its embassy open in Kabul, Russia is desperately trying to turn the tide against the Taliban. Why? Because it could cause so much chaos and disruption for Russia and its Muslim majority partners across the former Soviet states.

India

India, too, has become increasingly isolated in the Near East and is now surrounded on all sides by China’s power and influence in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and with the Taliban. Biden’s policies have directly impacted India’s geopolitical stability, leaving it only the Indian ocean as a secure access to the rest of the world. With China increasingly controlling ocean routes, India may face increased threats there as well. India and China are inveterate rivals and India’s Modi has opted to make his geo-political alliance with Israel even stronger. Modi has visited Israel to develop India’s economy by trade and technological advances. Both Israel, the UAE and India have a need to widen their circle of powerful friends, partly to isolate Iran with its damaging influence.

“The world is in a state of flux and alliances are shifting. The growing relationship between India, the UAE, and Israel appears to be the biggest geopolitical story in recent months” (IsraelUnwired, 19 October).

A question has been mooted, ‘Will India, US, Israel and UAE Join Hands To Form Another QUAD-Like Alliance?’ This does seem to be quite likely. Israel Hayom on 19 October reported that India and Israel hope to sign a free trade agreement by mid-2022.

India is, of course, a Commonwealth country, and it is with the Commonwealth that it’s true role will be found. As we know from Ezekiel 38:13, the confederation of nations that will challenge Russia’s Gog and his confederacy that invades Israel, will be Sheba, Dedan (UAE and Saudi Arabia), Britain, and the Commonwealth “young lions”.

Iran

On 19 October, Israel Hayom reported, “Recent developments signify not only growing Iranian confidence, but also Iran’s realization that the US abandoning the Middle east has left them a major space in which to exert their influence”. Iran is a tyrannically controlled theocracy which is said to be “extremely corrupt” and “more interested in the earthly paradise that they have in Tehran…than the theoretical heavenly paradise which they may…access…in the next world”.

Iran is a real worry to Israel and the West because it is finally in reach of nuclear weapons. America will do nothing. The only question now is, will Israel bomb Iranian atomic weapons development facilities? We don’t know, but Iran is a major player—mentioned as Persia in Ezekiel 38—in Russia and Catholic Europe’s invasion of Israel in which our Lord will intervene for the salvation of his people (Dan 12:1). It is not, however, listed in Psalm 83 amongst those countries contiguous with Israel that invade Israel, to their certain destruction. To date Iran has worked through their proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah etc, and presumably will do so again in that war. There will then be no alternative for Iran but to be directly involved with the Russian bear at Armageddon.

Israel

“The West is on retreat and the world’s focus is transferring eastward to the ancient cultures of the sub-Indian Continent, Central Asia and China. Israel is already preparing for the day after America, by allying with India and securing a pact of neutrality with Russia” (IsraelUnwired, 17 September 2021). This is a fascinating comment. Israel allying with India is to be expected. A pact with Russia is not. But then Putin is practiced in deception and “by peace he will destroy many” (Dan 8:25).

Israel is still beloved for the fathers’ sakes. Our Lord will come suddenly. Let us watch and be sober lest we walk naked, and they see our shame (Rev 16:15).