What's Happening in Afghanistan — And How You Can Actually Help

Afghanistan Flag

The United States government militarily occupied Afghanistan for the last 20 years, during which the Taliban — an insurgent group — has waged war against the Afghan government. Last week, the Biden administration pulled troops out of the country (after the U.S. had spent over a trillion dollars in the US military campaign in Afghanistan) leaving its people vulnerable to Taliban attacks. 

Since then, the Taliban has taken control of the majority of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, indicating the country has fallen to the Taliban. Under the Taliban's regime, hundreds of thousands of Afghans were displaced from their homes with 80 percent of them being women and children. Countries like Canada have committed to welcome Afghan refugees and Americans are calling upon the Biden administration to do the same.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen harrowing footage of Afghan civilians getting caught in the crossfire. A number of nonprofit organizations and United States representatives have called for action to support the Afghan refugees. As of August 23rd, the United States has evacuated roughly 48,000 people from Afghanistan as conversation turns to how to help refugees from the country. Below is a list of ways to help the people of Afghanistan.

Are there people already making a difference in Afghanistan?

At Good Good Good, we highlight the stories of people making a difference in the midst of heartbreak, pain, and injustice. While nobody should diminish immense challenges the people of Afghanistan face, there are a few bright spots to be celebrated. Ultimately, when we see good news, it allows us to work towards creating even more good news.

Here's the good news we've found so far:

Canada announced it would accept and resettle 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan, specifically vulnerable groups like women leaders, human rights workers, and journalists. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an evacuation of up to 10,000 Afghans, including more than 2,500 Afghan support staff — plus human rights activists, lawyers, and others at-risk.

Brave women journalists are continuing to report on what’s happening in the country.

Instead of evacuating immediately, the UK’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Laurie Bristow, stayed behind in Kabul to help process visas for Afghan nationals on their staff. The UK’s Foreign Office released a statement saying, “We have reduced our diplomatic presence in response to the situation on the ground, but our ambassador remains in Kabul and UK Government staff continue to work to provide assistance to British nationals and to our Afghan staff.”

The International Rescue Committee, International Committee of the Red Cross, and other organizations are committed to staying in communities to provide humanitarian relief to people in need.

Airbnb, the mega rental company, is planning on providing temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees. The company will be shouldering 100% of the costs.

We're in touch with nonprofits, journalists, and leaders and will be updating this story as we find more good news worth celebrating.

How can we help the people of Afghanistan?

When we have the privilege of experiencing bad news through the news — we have an obligation to use that privilege for good.

Here are some action steps you can take to support Afghans who are currently in Afghanistan or who have already left Afghanistan:

How to talk about what's happening Afghanistan and learn more from experts:

First: How you talk about Afghanistan matters. If you’re not an expert, the internet probably doesn’t need your hot takes on who’s to blame or where the problems lie. You also don’t have to give air to tweets and posts that aren’t rooted in expertise on the subject.

Share things that are helpful. Ignore things that aren’t helpful.

We recommend you seek out Afghans to learn from and listen to. Check out local activists, journalists, educators, and leaders recommended here and scholars recommended here.

The best nonprofits you can donate to if you want to support the people of Afghanistan in this heartbreaking moment:

The quick transition of leadership in Afghanistan means that there are currently a lot of unknowns. Organizations that have been working in Afghanistan successfully for years may find significant challenges in continuing their work. With that being said, there are a number of vetted and trustworthy organizations that will be able to help people:

Women for Afghan Women is a local organization helping women in Afghanistan.

Women for Afghan Women is a “grassroots civil society organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and New York.”

They’re a majority Afghan and Muslim organization and their work helps Afghan women and girls exercise their rights to pursue their individual potential to self-determination, and to representation in all areas of life—political, social, cultural, and economic. ​The coming weeks and months may look different for the organization, but your donation helps support their continued mission during especially challenging times.

Afghanaid is helping families who had to flee their homes.

Donations to Afghanaid support men, women, and children who have fled from their homes and from war or lost their livelihoods in the present upheaval.

In terms of how their work will be affected by the Taliban, they shared on their website: “Our ability to continue working is assisted by our strong local roots and our reputation for impartiality. The Taliban from Doha have been supportive of NGOs and we are finding that position is also being adopted by local commanders. In Kabul there is great uncertainty and we have temporarily closed our Kabul office and asked staff to remain at home. Our intention will be to re-open as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.”

Miles4Migrants helps people fly out of Afghanistan.

If you have extra airline miles or flight vouchers (perhaps from an airline you don’t fly often, or leftover from pre-pandemic) you can donate them to Miles4Migrants.

Miles4Migrants “uses donated frequent flyer miles, credit card points, and cash to help people impacted by war, persecution, or disaster reunite with loved ones and start new beginnings in safe homes.” Your donation will help those who have legal approval to travel out of Afghanistan but lack the money to afford the airfare.

GoFundMe has vetted a number of fundraisers to support Afghans.

GoFundMe’s Afghanistan Relief Fund supports a range of vital relief efforts. Your single donation can “provide short-term food relief, help displaced people and schools, support on-the-ground journalists, and more.” Your one donation can be spread out among a number of worthy causes, verified by GoFundMe.

Organizations are preparing to support Afghan refugees who resettle in the United States

We've compiled a list of the best nonprofit organizations that support refugees in all 50 states. Find your state, pick a local nonprofit, and find one way (big or small) to get involved.

How to make a difference for the people of Afghanistan by calling your elected officials

The best thing you can do right now is to call your elected officials and lobby for the U.S. to allow as many Afghan refugees into the U.S. as possible. We can rescue people now and figure out the logistics later.

The effort to help evacuate Afghan citizens is supported by 50 senators, including 2 republican senators, and supported by Former President Bush and Former President Trump. This doesn’t need to be controversial.

You can call your representative or senators by dialing 1-844-USA-0234. You'll be asked to input your zip code and the line will automatically connect you with your elected officials.

You can also use Resistbot, which allows you to send letters to your elected officials by sending a text message — just text RESIST to 50409.

For more details on calling your representatives, you can read our guide.

As a reminder, you’ll likely end up talking with a staffer. The usual process is: They'll take notes about your call, mark down that you're a constituent, and then they'll bring up the conversations they had in a meeting with your elected official.

More calls from constituents will mean more weight given to the request. Your call really matters.

Pro-tip: If you’re anxious about talking to someone on the phone, you can use Resistbot or you can call your elected officials after business hours and just leave a voicemail instead.

Here’s a script you can use when you call your elected representatives to advocate for Afghans:

Hi there —

My name is [name]. I’m a constituent living in [your location - including your zip code].

I’ve been absolutely heartbroken by what I’ve been seeing happen in Afghanistan. The United States spent 20 years in this country, and the people of Afghanistan have experienced a great deal of suffering.

The U.S has benefited from the support of local Afghans who are now at-risk — and we have an obligation to help these people in this moment.

Specifically, I want to see the United States quickly and significantly increase the number of Afghan refugees we allow into our country. 

We especially have an obligation to help the Afghan translators and drivers who sacrificially helped U.S. troops — and their families. And I’d also like to see significant support for women activists, girls seeking education, and these women’s families.

At the very least, I want to see the U.S. government do everything in its power to temporarily relocate as many Afghan citizens as possible to a safe place as quickly as possible — including airlifting people to safety.

If you can pass that message along to the [senator/congresswoman/congressman] I’d really appreciate it.

And lastly, you can help make a difference by sharing this post and continuing to talk about the people of Afghanistan. This situation isn’t going to go away quickly - but the media attention might. So keeping the conversation going with your elected officials, in the media, and on social media will really matter.

We have power to help a lot of people — but only if we act boldly and quickly.

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August 18, 2021 5:00 PM
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