Since the withdrawal of American and NATO forces from Afghanistan in July, the Taliban has quickly taken control of large parts of Afghanistan. The government has fallen and the president has fled. While this is horrific for all Afghan people, women face the worst of it. Devastating videos and photos of people trying to flee the country are circulating on social media and other platforms.
Under Taliban rule, women were subject to persistent human rights violations, including denied employment and education, being forced to wear the burqa, and forbidden from leaving their homes without a male “guardian.”
While the Taliban claims they have changed their stance on women’s rights, their current actions reflect otherwise. According to the International Rescue Committee, there are more than 18 million people in Afghanistan who require humanitarian aid, a number that has doubled in the last year. Additionally, 50% of those in need are women and girls.
Reports have indicated that the Taliban is not only ordering women to leave certain job positions but for religious leaders to provide a list of girls over the age of 15 for Taliban fighters to marry. All the gains Afghan women have made in the past 20+ years are thus under threat.
Thousands of people continue to be displaced as the humanitarian crisis continues. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 400,000 people have been forced from their homes since the beginning of the year. They join 2.9 million Afghans who have already been displaced across the country since the end of 2020.
“We are seeing large-scale displacement in what is now a humanitarian emergency,” Christopher Boian, a senior communications officer for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told The Washington Post in August.
For those who want to help but are not sure how, below are some resources on what to do and how you can help from the comfort of your own home.
Read to learn more about what is going on so you are informed.
- The Taliban: The Story of the Afghan Warlords, by Ahmed Rashid
- No Good Men Among the Living, by Anand Gopal
- Dear Zari, by Zarghuna Kargar
- We Are Afghan Women, by the George W. Busch Institute
- Runaway Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan, by Sonia Ahsan-Tirmizi
- With All Our Strength, by Anne E. Brodsky
- Taliban Narratives, by Thomas H. Johnson
- Mountain to Mountain, by Shannon Galpin
- An Enemy We Created: The Myth of the Taliban-Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, by Alex Strick Linschoten and Felix Kuehn
Learn about the impact on women and children by reading through this article from NBC News
Only read and consume trusted media sources and social media.
Follow and amplify Afghan voices
Don’t only speak out against the humanitarian crisis, but show your solidarity with Afghans by amplifying their voices.
The following accounts are great resources to follow and spread:
- Women-owned Afghan media
How you can help now
Call your representatives
Demand continued security at Kabul airport so flights can safely resume.
Demand an open-door refugee policy so that the most vulnerable in Afghanistan can leave.
Demand broadening visa eligibility and expedite processing for SIV P1 and P2 visas.
- Full script and who to call can be found here.
Volunteer at the airport
- Follow this link to help volunteer to help Afghans arriving at the airport. Volunteers are being requested to even just greet individuals to make them feel welcome.
- Volunteer services are also available across the U.S., like airport pick-ups, apartment set-ups, or bringing a meal.
- If you are unable to sign up to act as a volunteer in the various locations, organizers are asking people to donate to Neighbors in Need: Afghan Allies to help provide food, housing assistance, clothing, and other basic needs.
Sign this petition that urges the U.S. government to support the most vulnerable and lifts refugee caps.
Sign this petition to protect Afghanistan’s human rights defenders.
- Sign this petition to President Biden and Congress: Ensure Afghan women’s rights alongside peace with the Taliban.
- Sign this to raise awareness of the mistreatment of Afghan refugees in Iran.
- Know someone who speaks Dari or Pashto? Have them sign up to volunteer as a translator.
Donate extra travel miles or vouchers
- Miles4Migrants is accepting donations in the form of air miles for individuals with legal approval for travel who cannot afford the costs.
- Follow the link above to learn how you can donate.
Check out this list compiled by The Afghan Resources Project
- It’s focused on helping Afghans file expedited humanitarian parole applications and includes training materials, resources, and guides.
Donate to organizations that provide aid to Afghans
Organizations like the United Afghan Association (UAA) are holding drives to collect items that will help Afghan refugees resettle in their new homes. Items are being requested to support children, adults, and families including clothing, toiletries, houseware, food, water, and other necessities.
“This is a humanitarian crisis,” said Makeez Sawez, team lead with United Afghan Association. “The word humanitarian has that one key portion, human. It’s a human issue, right now. The average citizen in Afghanistan is innocent in what has happened. Our concern is to get as many supplies and support to these people as they migrate to the United States.
“I’m Afghan American,” Sawez continued. “As a child of a refugee, I’ve seen my parents struggle to build a life in the U.S. So, I empathize and sympathize with the situation that’s going on right now in Afghanistan .”
- Socks and undergarments
- Sweaters and blouses
- Shirts, pants, long skirts, and shoes
- Feminine products
- Diapers of all sizes, baby formula, and baby wipes
- Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
- Toothpaste and toothbrushes
- New pots and pans
- New blankets, pillows, towels, napkins, and rugs
- Grocery gift cards
- Oil, rice, and flour
- Tea and coffee
- Sugar, spices, and canned foods
Other organizations accepting donations include:
- Afghan Aid
- International Refugee Assistance Project
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
- Women for Afghan Women
- International Rescue Committee
- Committee to Protect Journalists
- Mercy Corps
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Be present, show solidarity
Remember to always listen and amplify Afghan refugees. Do what advocates say they need not what you think they need.
Honestly, this thread is golden. It lists things to do and avoid in efforts to support Afghanistan. Take a look for yourself below—it’s pretty extensive.
Note: The above resource list is in no way exhaustive and has been compiled through a variety of sources on the interwebs. For a more comprehensive list of resources, including additional places to donate, activists to follow, and petitions to sign, please click here.
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