The Islamic fundamentalist group, which last ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, is projecting a more moderate stance since its power grab on Sunday but reports on the ground of bloodshed and curtailed women’s liberties suggest otherwise.
Desperation is coursing through Afghan society as people fear for their families, livelihoods, and future, unsure of what comes next and fearing the worst from a group with a well-documented history of repression and violence.
As cries for help and assistance spread on social media, so does the impulse to help out in any way possible. The good news is there are plenty of organizations ready to spring into action or with experience on the ground. Here’s how you can lend a hand.
As human rights organizations and governments scramble to evacuate allies—including activists and journalists—from the country, NGOs have set up dedicated funds to support Afghans in the immediate aftermath of the Taliban takeover. These include: the U.N. Refugee Agency, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International Rescue Committee.
For now, the Taliban has said it will allow NGOs to continue operating in the country, so these donations could go a long way in helping with basic needs from food to shelter.
If you’re worried about whether the funds will be put to good use, the AFG Diaspora Hub has vetted and compiled a list of top organizations that people can donate to.
Crowdfunding platform Global Giving has set up an emergency fund to support grassroots organizations in Afghanistan. As of writing, it has raised about $80,000 of its $3 million goal. Smaller campaigns have also been set up on crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe.
The organizations and initiatives involved in humanitarian efforts are not limited to the ones listed above. But if you’re looking to provide financial support, it’s a good idea to do some basic research on the credibility of campaigns before contributing.
Help the Vulnerable
While the crisis is taking a toll on people across the country, some groups find themselves especially vulnerable. The Taliban has a record of brutal abuse against marginalized groups including women, journalists, ethnic minorities and members of the LGBTQ community.
In recent months, journalists and women in media have been prominent targets of Taliban attacks and increasingly face threats to self-censor or quit their jobs. Denmark-based nonprofit organization International Media Support has set up a fund for donations to protect Afghan journalists.
The Taliban, which trumpets a strict interpretation of Sharia law, has historically committed brutal acts against members of the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ outreach efforts in Afghanistan are especially tedious due to limited resources and its taboo nature, but non-profit organizations like Canada-based Rainbow Railroad said it is currently monitoring the situation of LGBTQ people in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Women for Afghan Women is working to ensure the safety of their clients and staff on the ground, and Doctors Without Borders continues to provide medical care to the needy. Both organizations are accepting donations.
Support Afghan Refugees
As throngs of Afghans try to flee the country, international support is vital. The International Rescue Committee is recruiting volunteers in the United States to assist the resettlement of Afghan refugees. There are also state-based organizations across the country that provide refugee services. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can look for your nearest humanitarian organization with a refugee aid program.
From advocating for safe migration to housing refugees, various petitions have been set up to urge national governments to support those who have just fled Afghanistan. Look for petitions (or maybe even start your own) that urge your government to step up efforts to support Afghans.
Read, Share, Care
It may sound simple, but staying informed can help.
Read up on the latest developments in Afghanistan, share them with your social circle (both online and offline), and care about the humanitarian crisis in your own way (but without virtue signaling). These will help raise global awareness and keep the conversation going as the crisis continues and drops out of headlines.
Don’t just read mainstream media, but follow Afghan media outlets, like TOLOnews. Help amplify their voices and work, especially as they are taking major risks to report the news.
You can also write, call or email elected lawmakers in your part of the world and push them to act on Afghanistan whether through helping with resettlement or policies that could help Afghans.