How you can help Afghanistan—according to an expert

The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan has left millions of women and minorities in grave danger

The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan has left millions of women and minorities in grave danger
(Image credit: Getty)

The Afghanistan crisis has stunned the world—now here's how you can help. 

The Taliban invasion of Afghanistan at the weekend has plunged the Middle Eastern country into a state of emergency, forcing thousands of people to abandon their homes and flee the fundamentalist Islamic regime to seek refuge. Millions more have been left behind, where they face an uncertain future under the reign of the notoriously militant government for the first time in 20 years. 

The Taliban controlled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, imposing strict rules on the population—along with brutal penalties for those who broke them. Their laws, which are based on their interpretation of the Qur'an, are particularly harsh on women, preventing them from exercising a wide range of human rights—including access to education and freedom of expression. 

In light of Malala Yousafzai's statement that she is 'deeply worried' for women, children, and minorities in Afghanistan, the international community is desperate to find a way to help from overseas. With so much confusion and misinformation surrounding the issue, here are some of the best things you can do—and not do—to support the Afghan people at this critical time. This list is courtesy of Bushra Ebadi, an Afghan-Canadian researcher, and UNESCO Youth Ambassador.

1. Stay informed by following reputable news sources and experts.

It's crucial to avoid digesting and/or propagating misinformation on this issue. Ensure you keep up-to-date by absorbing trustworthy news outlets and experts, and hold back on your opinions until you're fully aware of the facts. 

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2. Find out what your own government is doing to help Afghan citizens.

Following the Taliban's takeover at the weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced strong pressure to establish a resettlement scheme for Afghan citizens that would guarantee safe passage and refuge in the UK. On Tuesday, the Home Office outlined its plans to take in 5,000 former Afghan staff and family members by the end of the year, 5000 Afghan refugees in the next 12 months, and up to 15,000 Afghans in the following years. However, critics say it's not enough. Former cabinet minister David Davis said that the UK has a "direct moral responsibility" to take at least 50,000 Afghans, consider its history of military intervention following Afghanistan. Labour has also condemned the current plan, criticising it for failing to meet "the scale of the challenge" and "leaving people in Afghanistan in deadly danger".

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3. Donate to reputable emergency relief charities 

There are multiple charities appealing for donations to support Afghans during this difficult time. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) hopes to raise $10 million to fund its work in Afghanistan, where it delivers urgent humanitarian aid to those in need. It provides basic needs like temporary shelter, clean water, and sanitation, as well as safe learning spaces and opportunities to find employment. 

The British Red Cross is also urging the public to donate, to help it continue its lifesaving work in providing Afghans with medical supplies, medicine, food, shelter and water. 

Other reputable organizations providing direct aid to Afghanistan include Turquoise Mountain Trust, Urgent Crisis Relief for Afghanistan 2021and Support to Families Displaced by Taliban Violence.

4. Call for sanctions against those who fund the Taliban. 

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Other charities in need of your donations right now include Crisis in Afghanistan, Rukshana Media, Sanitary Products for Displaced Afghan Women, Afghanistan: A Call For Urgent Help and Emergency Aid for Victims of the Taliban Attacks.

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.