August 16, 2021

NIAC Responds to Developments in Afghanistan, Urges Increased Support for Refugees

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is a tragedy that puts countless lives at risk, including women, human rights defenders and journalists. The priority for the Biden administration and all nations must be to evacuate as many Afghans as possible, particularly those whose lives have been threatened by the collapse of the central government and Taliban takeover. This necessitates an immediate implementation of an open-door policy for Afghan refugees and an urgent logistical effort to evacuate Afghans from the airport in Kabul and elsewhere in the country. 

For Iranian Americans and other allies eager to help, here are a list of organizations and advocates raising funds and pooling resources* that you can support:

The policy implications of the Taliban takeover will be long debated, but a few things are clearly apparent. Iran – already dealing with an enormous wave of COVID-19 and crushing sanctions – will now be confronted with a new surge of refugees across its border even as it struggles to provide for its own citizens and other Afghan refugees. We call on the Iranian government to keep the borders open to refugees, ensure their rights and counter the systemic discrimination that Afghan refugees have faced in recent years. Simultaneously, the U.S. government and international community should offer assistance and resources to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees in Iran, the U.S., and elsewhere around the world, and lift any sanctions that may obstruct relief efforts.

It is painfully apparent that twenty years of American military occupation and trillions of dollars of financial backing failed to stand up an independent Afghan government for even twenty weeks. Clearly, countless officials across multiple administrations – starting with George W. Bush – were involved in sustaining a lie about the benefits of the war and what it could accomplish. That should give pause to anyone who reaches for military options first to solve complex political problems, regardless of the country. As we take immediate steps to support Afghans on the ground and save as many lives as possible, we must shift away from militaristic policies and toward diplomacy-centric approaches that protect human rights and our shared humanity.

*If you hear of other organizations or advocates worthy of support, please e-mail us at [email protected]

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