Source: The Guardian
In the two decades since the American invasion of Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Afghans have moved out of their homeland and resettled in different parts of the world in the hopes of building a new life away from their war-stricken country. But,in the past week, a significantly high number of citizens have fled from their homes as the Taliban took over the once Western-backed government. With President Ashraf Ghani relinquishing control of the capital, the militant group is set to rule the rest of the nation, triggering global concern and igniting the fears of those left behind.
During the Taliban’s reign in the late 1990s, an atmosphere of violence and oppression blanketed most especially the women. Largely confined to their homes, they were forced to wear the burqa at all times in public, barred from work, and hindered from seeking further education after the age of eight. Older generations, many of which are now residing in the United States, hold reservations about the Taliban’s promise to respect women’s rights, forgive those who fought against them, and ensure that Afghanistan does not become a breeding ground for terrorists. Embroiled in these fears, they are now scrambling to help family members who remain unable to leave the country.
In recent reports and videos that went viral, thousands of citizens have been seen racing to the airport—only hundreds of them were able to board planes and jet off to a new land. Desperate to aid parents, siblings, and other loved ones, Afghan-Americans have spent countless hours getting out their stranded relatives. Additionally, Afghan coalitions and organizations have clamored for the US government to take in more refugees, speaking out on behalf of the near 150,000 Afghan-Americans across the states.
Right now, it is not yet clear how many Afghans are in need of evacuation, but a considerable number of people are estimated to be at risk because of the chaos as the Taliban struggles to gain a foothold on the rest of the country. The US military forces are currently in the process of taking thousands to the US through the so-called Special Immigrant Visas program for Afghans.
Other countries have also committed to taking in refugees and helping mitigate the humanitarian disaster brought about by the rise of the Taliban. Uganda, in particular, is set to host 2,000 refugees at US request. “They have requested us to host 2,000 refugees. We are expecting them to be brought in shifts of 500. So, UNHCR secured Imperial hotels in Entebbe as a transit center for them to, first of all, arrive and be screened,” said Esther Anyakun, Uganda’s state minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, in a statement. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has authorized the disbursement of up to $500 million from an emergency fund to meet refugee needs caused by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Part of the fund will be dedicated to processing Afghan special immigration visa applicants in the weeks to come.