Over the past week, the world witnessed history being made, with the 20-year U.S. war in Afghanistan ending as it once began—the Taliban ruling the country. But for the millions of people stuck in the crossfire, the events that transpired after the demise of the Washington-backed government are nothing but a tragedy as they fear for their lives and their future. Thousands of miles away from the scene, local Afghan-Americans in the United States are scrambling to aid their relatives in the aftermath of the U.S. military withdrawing its forces from their homeland.
The Taliban, which ran Afghanistan in the late 1990s, was forcibly ousted during 2001’s U.S.-led invasion. Their rise to power in the last few days, after overrunning Kabul and presiding over the presidential palace abandoned by President Ashraf Ghani, brings to the fore worries that the militant group will reimpose the harsh interpretation of Islamic law that barred citizens—especially women—from fully enjoying their freedom. People are also fleeing the country, as seen in videos that have gone viral, because of fears that the Taliban will carry out revenge attacks against those who worked with the Americans in the past two decades.
While the Taliban has expressed its desire to uphold women’s rights and enforce a more moderate approach to governing the Afghans, many of the Afghan-Americans who have found refuge in other countries find little faith in the group’s promises. This skepticism is primarily born out of their experiences with the discrimination, oppression, and violence that blanketed the country during the Taliban’s past regime. Unsure of when they’ll see their loved ones again, they have spent hours and hours contacting their families and responding to messages full of desperation.
One major concern remains at the forefront of countless Afghan-Americans: is there any way to get our relatives out? Aware that the dust is still settling on the ground and the logistical nightmare that is now attached to any attempts to get away, some are checking on visa applications for parents and siblings while others are furiously working on booking flights out of the country for their family members.
Meanwhile, most of the roughly 150,000 Afghans who now call the United States their home are making their voices heard, demanding that Washington take in more refugees. Afghan coalitions and organizations are also going all-out to extend their support and find ways to provide transport for those who wish to flee from their homeland.
As of today, it is unclear how many Afghans are bound for the U.S. and how many would receive priority. But since the news of the Taliban ruling Afghanistan again broke out, several other nations have verbalized that their borders are open to receiving thousands of refugees, if need be. For now, Afghan-Americans in the different states in America are pouring all their effort into finding a home for loved ones who deserve to live free of violence and terror.