As desperate scenes coming from Kabul Airport play out on the news and social media; terrified Afghan civilians are still trying to find refuge from the Taliban after they seized sweeping control over Afghanistan when U.S. troops began withdrawing from the country after a two-decade war.
With a fast-approaching deadline for the total removal of American military personnel set for August 31st; the Biden administration appears to have been caught off guard as the Taliban took mere days to overrun the country and collapse the Western-backed Afghan government. This is despite some Afghanistan-based U.S. diplomats reportedly writing to the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken in mid-July that a Taliban takeover was happening far quicker than expected; and that efforts to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies should be accelerated.
Many Afghan journalists, interpreters and others who aided the U.S. and its allies during this war are at risk of violent retaliation from the Taliban. Those who supported/worked with America, Canada, UK, Germany, etc, along with their families, are in immediate danger; not to mention ordinary Afghan citizens who will be brutalized under the Taliban regime (especially women, girls and LGBTQ+ people).
With evacuations by the United States set to continue right up until the deadline; there’s still much help we can offer to those fleeing and those who’ve already been brought to safety. Here’s how you can support Afghan refugees …
- If you are/know of any LGBTQ+ Afghans who need urgent help getting out of Afghanistan, contact the following organisations (which you can also donate to): Immigration Equality, an LGBTQ+ immigrant rights organization and/or Rainbow Railroad, a global not-for-profit organization that helps LGTBQ+ people facing persecution.
- Donate to Women For Women International who provide assistance to women that have survived war and conflict in eight countries; including vital work helping Afghan women. Additionally, there’s an open letter you can sign urging the Biden administration to ensure women from Afghanistan are supported and protected.
- The International Rescue Committee has been on the ground in Afghanistan for over 30 years and provides critical aid in conflict areas. They urgently need donations to facilitate the continuation of the work they do.
- Donate to International Medical Corps who maintain teams on the ground in Afghanistan and provide crucial emergency healthcare/lifesaving medical services.
- Save The Children are appealing for donations/help supporting Afghan children and their families who are either stuck in Afghanistan or recently arrived to settle in the United States.
- United Nations Refugee Agency needs donations to assist with its work to defend the most vulnerable, newly displaced Afghans with life-saving shelter, food, water and core relief items.
- Donate to No One Left Behind, a U.S. non-profit that helps secure Afghan interpreters; who worked alongside the American military, safely into the United States using a Special Immigrant Visa program.
- The UK government has a web portal for British residents to donate goods and/or offer housing/fostering to refugees in their local area.
- A British humanitarian and development organisation, AfghanAid is asking for donations to support their work providing urgent housing and lifesaving assistance to Afghan men, women and children.
- The Canadian government has a system set up for residents to volunteer time and/or supply goods, food and money to aid refugees undergoing resettlement. If you’re living in Canada and can help, email email@example.com to find out more.
- Islamic Relief Canada is in Afghanistan distributing food and shelter supplies, medical/hygiene kits and water storage kits to those caught up in areas of conflict.
It can be challenging to know how best to support those trying to flee a country under increasingly oppressive control; or those who have managed to escape and resettle as refugees for a renewed life abroad. This list is a starting point, and I hope you utilize the information as best you can because your help is needed — you will make a difference. If you know of any other groups/organisations that are not on this list or are particular to your country/region, please include them in a comment.
Did you find this list useful? Have you been able to assist Afghan refugees from where you live? What are your thoughts on the unfolding situation in Afghanistan?