The Taliban in Afghanistan: Updates and Ways to Aid Refugees

The 15th of October, 2021, marks exactly two months since the Taliban took control of the Afghan government, forcing thousands of refugees out of their home country to escape persecution. Below is a summary of how this government takeover began, as well as how concerned citizens can contribute to the aid of Afghanistan’s refugees.

The Taliban formed in the early 1990’s in Southern Afghanistan after the removal of Soviet troops in an attempt to settle the effects of the Afghan civil war. This was done through a rigid interpretation of Islamic law.

After the attack on September 11th, 2001 the U.S. backed the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and sent US troops to help fight the rise of the Taliban.

February of 2020 marked the signing of a peace agreement between the U.S and Taliban forces, negotiating the withdrawal of U.S. troops within 14 months. In exchange, the Taliban “pledged to prevent territory under its control from being used by terrorist groups and enter into negotiations with the Afghan government.” This did not last, as the Taliban continued to use violence against the Afghan government and its citizens. As of April 2021, President Biden declared that all U.S. troops were to leave their stations in Afghanistan by September of the same year. Currently, 0 U.S. troops remain in the country.  

Over the summer, Taliban forces have occupied more and more territory, increasing violence against innocent civilians. Since 2009, 111,000 civilian casualties have been accounted for. 

Taliban fighters officially took control of the capital Kabul in mid- August of this year, leading to previous Afghan president Ashraf Ghandi fleeing the country. Taliban forces continue to establish their harsh government, endangering the lives and rights of many, and more particularly, the rights and social advancements of women. 

President Biden employed evacuations of U.S. troops and “allied personnel, as well as thousands of Afghans who worked with the United States and were attempting to flee.” Many Afghanistan civilians have attempted to flee the country, resulting in a flood of thousands of refugees to neighboring countries. 

An article by Deepa Shivaram for NPR details a few ways in which you can help refugees from Afghanistan, many of which are families with young children. Listed below are organizations and their goals which you can support:

Volunteer for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

  • Requesting volunteers to help incoming refugees with their transition to the U.S.
  • Participate in services for refugees like airport shuttles, helping set up apartments, and distributing meals.

Donate to Women for Women International 

  • Help fund empowerment programs for women in Afghanistan
  • Support women refugees in their journey in the U.S.

Donate to International Refugee Assistance Project

  • Protect the rights of displaced refugees and help them to safety

Donate to Afghan Journalists Safety Committee

  • Save the lives of journalists in Afghanistan by providing supplies like food, safehouses, and clothing

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