Prologue: The notes below are from August 13th, 2021. Things have already changed. The Taliban have now entered Kabul and have taken control of the government. Nevertheless, I believe the notes are valuable. After my notes from the phone conversation I had, I’ve added additional resources. Please check out as many as you can.
Phone Notes: To protect the source of these notes, I will not be naming the person or the organization from which they came. Know that it is from someone with direct knowledge of and engagement with the current crisis.
As the Taliban advance through Afghanistan, hundreds of staff of this humanitarian organization and thousands of clients throughout the country are being moved to Kabul, despite not knowing how long Kabul will be a safe place for them. Public advocacy has been suspended because of safety concerns, as well. Except for the border with Pakistan, borders are closed, so it is very difficult to evacuate people outside the country; yet, that is the help that is needed.
As bad as the Taliban were, today’s generation of Taliban is worse. Most are Pakistanis trained in Pakistan but sent to Afghanistan to fight non-Muslims and any modern influences. The American presence has been the object of their violence, but that is merely an excuse. Afghanistan had been on a path to modernization many years ago before the Americans’ arrival, and the Taliban were on the attack then.
For Americans to be negotiating with the Taliban, releasing hundreds who are now part of the conquering forces, working on a treaty that contains unknown content, and engaging in withdrawal from the country while new, younger, inexperienced people, unskilled in warfare, have been employed by the Afghan government is simply wrong at this time. It is endangering lives of countless Afghan citizens, especially women and children, those who have worked as translators, those who work for nonprofit organizations, and others who worked for U.S. companies or media.
On August 2nd, the U.S. announced a Priority 2 (P-2) designation granting U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) access for certain Afghan nationals and their eligible family members, but it may not extend far enough to protect all who need protection.
Informed American voices are critical. We must reach out to Congress and other policy makers, appealing for more help for the Afghan people.
Lawyers are needed to provide professional expertise. If anyone is or has access to pro bono lawyers with the appropriate specialization, that would be ideal. If not, donations to hire such lawyers, are most welcome.
Covid-19 has only added to the challenge.
Epilogue: Here are other resources that have crossed my desk since my phone conversation.
- You can sign a petition at this link: https://www.peace-ed-campaign.org/call-to-action-unscr-1325-as-an-instrument-for-the-protection-of-afghan-women/?utm_source=mailpoet&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly-update-global-campaign-for-peace-education_6.
- And this petition:
Dear President Biden and Secretary Blinken,
The rapid collapse of the U.S.-backed Afghan government lays bare the immense failure and destruction caused by 20 years of U.S. military interventions. Urgent action is required to mitigate the crisis that U.S.’s longest war has created. We call on you to:
- Support UN efforts to create a humanitarian corridor and guarantee safe passage for humanitarian workers to help the large displaced population
- Expand qualification categories for Afghan refugees coming to the U.S. & reduce the paperwork required to qualify
- Cease all bombings and CIA paramilitary involvement
- After U.S. evacuations are complete, remove U.S. forces, except for a residual protective force at the US embassy for possible recognition of a new government.
In the days, weeks, and months to come, accountability will be vital. The U.S. must learn from this debacle by investigating, and holding people accountable, for 20 years of epic failure. The U.S. must cease its military interventions around the world and cut the runaway Pentagon budget. We must stop destabilizing the Middle East and Southwest Asia, including lifting sanctions on Iran, stopping weapons export to the regimes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and the UAE, and pulling our troops out of Iraq and Syria.
We call on you today to act with responsibility to the Afghan people and tomorrow, with accountability for all the horror and destruction that U.S. militarism has and is continuing to cause.
Sign here: http://www.codepink.org/afghanistan2021?recruiter_id=711110.
- Also, Amnesty International has a petition at its website, https://www.amnestyusa.org/.
- Codepink offered an excellent webinar, Who’s to Blame and What Next? on August 16th. See it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qr8SJUQ3HE.
- Phyllis Bennis wrote a very informed article available at this website: https://www.thenation.com/article/world/washington-afghanistan-taliban-women/.
Please do what you can. And don’t forget to PRAY!