Here’s how to help the people of Afghanistan amid the humanitarian crisis

Afghan women, holding placards, gather to demand the protection of Afghan women's rights in front of the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 17, 2021.
Afghan women, holding placards, gather to demand the protection of Afghan women's rights in front of the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 17, 2021.
  • The Taliban gained control of Afghanistan's capital on Sunday resulting in nationwide panic.
  • "There is no 'new Taliban,'" the Executive Director of Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security told Insider.
  • Insider has compiled a list of ways to help the people of Afghanistan.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Taliban seized control over Kabul on Sunday, four months after President Joe Biden announced it was "time to end the forever war," following through with Trump's February 2020 deal with the Taliban.

Many fear the Taliban will return to their 1996-2001 reign, prior to US intervention, which imposed strict Islamic law, where women were required to be escorted by a man to leave their homes and women were unable to receive education or hold jobs. There is also fear among Afghans and the international community (and several current examples) that the Taliban will exact retribution on critics or those who worked with the US or other foreign entities, worked as journalists, served in some capacity in the US-backed Afghan government or the Afghan military.

"There is no 'new Taliban,'" Amb. Melanne Verveer, the executive director of Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security told Insider. "Already across Afghanistan, we're seeing girls being told they're not to go to school anymore, women being told that they can't leave their homes except with a guardian, flogging, sex slavery - a whole host of horrific prospects for women who've already suffered a great deal."

Videos and images show that the Taliban's takeover of Kabul resulted in a chaotic gathering at the airport as people clung to US airplanes in a desperate attempt to flee the country. The Associated Press reported that at least seven people died.

"I know my decision will be criticized. But I would rather take that criticism than pass this on to a fifth president," Biden said on Monday. "I am the president of the United States, the buck stops with me."

Women for Women International, a nonprofit that works to support female survivors of war, told Insider that their colleague said, "If the Taliban doesn't kill women, the tension of this crisis just might."

The humanitarian crisis is front and center in the news, appearing in outlets from CNN to BBC and more. So it follows that there are people who want to help.

Insider has compiled a list of ways to help the people of Afghanistan below.

Donate

Many organizations are taking donations to support those in need amid the humanitarian crisis. Women for Women International has a generous donor who will match up to $500,000 in donations made on their site.

"We are heartened by the outpouring of support - we've raised $1 million - but the need in Afghanistan and other conflict areas we work in is greater than that," the CEO of Women for Women International told Insider.

The UN Refugee Agency, Islamic Relief USA, Save the Children, No One Left Behind, Keeping our Promise, and the International Rescue Committee are also accepting donations to help the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

A Task and Purpose article linked to several non-profit advocacy groups aiding the crisis, including Evacuate Our Allies and the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Reach out to lawmakers

A New York Times article suggests that it can be effective to call lawmakers rather than email them. Mention to them the severity of the situation and urge them to make this a high priority.

US Senators' telephone numbers can be found here - most Senators have contact forms on their websites as well. A directory of US Representatives' telephone numbers can be found here.

"The most important thing for Afghan women right now, particularly those who are most vulnerable, is to be evacuated either on charter flights or on US military flights. The US government has to make this a high priority," Verveer told Insider.

"The reality is the visa program offered by the US government and others are available to only a tiny minority," Laurie Adams, the CEO of Women for Women International, told Insider. "We call on our governments to waive the need for passports and provide more help for those who need to get out, but our attention is primarily on those who will stay."

An Instagram post by the Ketab Relief Organization even suggests protesting for aid to be sent, convincing your government to open their borders to Afghan refugees, and urging immigration lawyers to take on pro bono cases for Afghans seeking asylum to those who would like to help.

Volunteer

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is searching for volunteers in Seattle, Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Houston, and Fort Worth. They also have a general waitlist/stand-by form for those in other locations looking to volunteer in other cities.

Organizations such as Keeping our Promise, Evacuate Our Allies, and International Refugee Assistance Project are accepting volunteers.

The International Rescue Committee is also a great general resource for those interested in volunteering to help refugees and immigrants.

Boost Afghan voices and credible news on social media

A viral tweet thread by Bushra Ebadi says it's vital to follow Afghan voices - activists, scholars, journalists - that can accurately speak to the human rights violations occurring. The tweets also mention the importance of avoiding contributing to the misinformation surrounding the crisis by speaking on limited knowledge.

Live updates on the crisis in Afghanistan can be viewed here.

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