Aug 17, 2021
 in 
Global News

Afghan Crisis: How the Diaspora Can Provide Aid & Support Refugees

What's happening in Afghanistan?

The Taliban, a militant group that ran the country in the late 1990s,  seized power in Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war. The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the U.S. and its allies melted away. Afghans, fearing for the future, are racing to the airport, one of the last routes out of the country.

(Image by U.S Defense: Over 600 Afghanistans airlifted by U.S Defense to safety)


They’re worried that the country could descend into chaos or the Taliban could carry out revenge attacks against those who worked with the Americans or the government. Many also fear the Taliban will reimpose the harsh interpretation of Islamic law that they relied on when they ran Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

(Image: Travelers enter in Pakistan through a border crossing point in Chaman, Pakistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. AP Photo/Jafar Khan)

Back then, women were barred from attending school or working outside the home. They had to wear the all-encompassing burqa and be accompanied by a male relative whenever they went outside. The Taliban banned music, cut off the hands of thieves and stoned adulterers.

The Taliban have sought to present themselves as a more moderate force in recent years and say they won’t exact revenge, but many Afghans are skeptical of those promises.

How is this a Humanitarian Crisis?

  • Afghan Population: 38.9 million
  • Afghanistans in need of humanitarian aid: 18.4 million
  • Afghanistan Rank in Human Development Index: 169 of 189
(Image: Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. Person second from left is a former bodyguard for Ghani. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)
  • Many Afghans say they fear for their lives as violence escalates in their country. Already, some 550,000 have been displaced by conflict this year.
  • More than 18 million need aid as the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate rapidly amid growing instability.
  • Organizations like the IRC  and others are appealing for support to deliver aid in areas of conflict and support displaced people in Kabul.
  • The Biden Administration is urged to act swiftly to protect Afghans at risk, including those who supported the U.S.

Plagued by decades of violent conflict and natural disasters, Afghanistan has created one of the largest refugee populations in the world. Despite many years of aid, Afghanistan’s government has struggled to provide clean water, electricity, safe roads and education services for its people. As a result, 18.4 million Afghans need humanitarian support.  Afghanistan is also embroiled in one of the most dangerous conflicts for civilians in the world: 2021 is on track to be the deadliest in over a decade—unless world leaders take action. International pressure is urgently needed to secure an immediate ceasefire to protect civilians and enable aid workers to safely reach all those in need. The 300,000 Afghans who assisted the U.S. in their country, such as translators and interpreters, are also in great danger. The Biden Administration is addressing a backlog in processing Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for these allies and looking at other paths for Afghans to seek safety—but these efforts benefit less than 1% of Afghans. Hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan have been internally displaced by conflict this year—but accurate and up-to-date figures are unavailable, because where fighting is most intense, humanitarian aid workers have also been forced to temporarily flee. 


Which Diaspora Organizations are Providing Resources?

TANTV has done a deep dive for diaspora organizations who are providing information about the crisis and how people can support. A particularly good thing to do is donate money. Organizations like Lutheran Social Services, the Ethiopian Community Development Council, the International Rescue Committee, and Catholic Charities do a lot of work to resettle Afghan SIV holders in the Washington DC area and other local regions in the U.S.

Here's a list of Diaspora Organizations providing resources and support to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

The IRC's work in Afghanistan

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

The Afghan American Foundation (AAF)

Afghanistan Relief Carrd

Afghan Diaspora Hub

Afghan Diaspora for Equality & Progress

ECDC was established in 1983 as a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) community-based organization to respond to the needs of a growing Ethiopian community both in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and across the United States.

United States Resettlement Partners : Resettlement is a coordinated activity undertaken by in partnership with UNHCR, US government agencies, NGOs and other actors. It includes a variety of specific actions, from the identification of refugees in need of resettlement in the field to screening, processing and reception and integration of the refugees in the United States. Below is a list of partner agencies and organizations.

https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/us-resettlement-partners.htm

OTHER RELEVANT LINKS :

Aggregate Resources Drive

PHONE BANKING

Congressional Committee Call Script - This document is an attempt to centralize contact information and demands for US politicians regarding Afghanistan.

Congressional Advocacy Script - Calling and petitioning congressional representatives based on your district 

Text Crisis to 52886

FINANCIAL AID

List of Afghan charities

Fundraiser for basic necessities

Cash in hand relief


RELOCATION / LEGAL INFO

Aggregated immigration relief doc

CANADA:

Refugee resettlement program info: recently expanded to include human rights defenders [activists, women and highly visible leaders]→ email canada-afghanistan@international.gc.ca with required personal info, highlighting role as a human rights defender or anyone who has worked with the government of Canada

Group of 5 - A Group of Five (G5) is five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have arranged to sponsor a refugee living abroad to come to Canada.

UNITED STATES:

Information on the P2 Visa for Afghan nationals

Artistic Freedom Initiative: “AFI’s Legal Services for At-Risk Artists program is designed to facilitate pro bono immigration services for at-risk artists fleeing persecution or censorship in their countries of origin.”


Visas for Afghans: General

GERMANY: 

All Germans in Afghanistan and/or those who worked with Germans, email to contact the embassy to be evacuated: 040.krise16@diplo.de

INFORMATION RESOURCES

List of actions @bushra_ebadi

A call to American journalists

Afghan Diaspora Hub

A collated guide on instagram

Most of these source pulled together by Afghan American Foundation & Afghan Diapora for Equality & Progress.

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