By Emma Dooney
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.
1) If you are not an expert on #Afghanistan, have not been keeping up with what has been occurring, and are not directly impacted by what is happening don't share your unsolicited opinions and takes.August 14, 2021
2) Instead follow and amplify the voices, work, and initiatives of Afghan activists, leaders, journalists, artists, and researchers.August 14, 2021
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".
5) The US and NATO allies benefitted from the support of local Afghans who are being targeted. Reach out to your political representatives and leaders to ensure that efforts are being made to evacuate and resettle these individuals and their families.August 14, 2021
The closing of embassies and withdrawal of ground presence and air support will make this more difficult. So #5 is time sensitive.August 14, 2021
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.
4. Call for sanctions against those who fund the Taliban.
8) Call for accountability and sanctions against actors who help bankroll the Taliban (and provide them with training and arms). This article gives some context: https://t.co/bTyXxRcT0j.August 14, 2021
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 is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
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