Op-Ed: Step up for Afghan refugees

by | Aug 17, 2021 | Foreign Policy, Opinion

On September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked four commercial airliners, crashing them into the World Trade Center. None of the nineteen hijackers were Afghan nationals. Weeks after the attack, the United States announced that U.S. armed forces had launched attacks against the terrorist group and Taliban targets in Afghanistan.

On October 7, 2001, supported by the British, the U.S. military began its bombing campaign against Taliban forces. This bombing resulted in the loss of thousands of Afghan civilian lives.

On May 1, 2011, Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, responsible for the 9/11 attacks, was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan, a close American ally at the time.

After 20 years of unsuccessful attacks, the U.S. and Taliban signed a peace agreement on February 29, 2020. This agreement only ensured Taliban’s case-fire with the U.S., while relations between the Taliban and Afghans remained limited to killings, terror, and destruction.

On April 14, 2021, President Biden expressed his intent to completely withdraw U.S. troops by September 11, 2021.

For the past 20 years, the U.S. has spent close to $1,000 billion dollars. Along the way, the U.S. has lost thousands of soldiers, killed numberless Afghan civilians, and displaced some four million Afghan refugees, to make peace with the enemy they created. After using Afghanistan as its personal arms testing site (read: war playground), the U.S. has left the country worse than before. Not to mention, the militias we backed committed extreme human rights abuses, and the numerous unexploded ordnance problems.

Afghanistan has faced decades of war because of U.S. intervention, not in spite of it. Western military presence has created a power vacuum to suck away Afghanistan’s ability to self-govern, with innocent civilians constantly paying the price.

So do I support Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan? Yes. In fact, I support the end of all U.S. imperialist endeavors worldwide. The Taliban is obviously not good and I’m terrified for the Afghan people as the Taliban functionally take over their country, but let me be clear — weaponizing this fear is absolutely not a reason to stay in Afghanistan. The idea that Afghan people are incapable of stable self rule is an incredibly problematic colonial era mentality and the myth that constant war in Afghanistan has anything to do with religion is largely islamophobic (Afghanistan is bordered by six powerful countries and is a hotspot for gemstones and essential minerals, making it a frequent target). I believe the best way for us to clean up the mess we made is to accept refugees with open arms and establish infrastructure to care for them. So instead of sitting here and deciding which U.S. president deserves the blame for all of this, here is a list of resources you can use to help Afghan refugees. 

Follow informative Afghan pages on instagram:

@omar.haidari

@hilahamidi

@theafghan

Donate:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/crisis-in-afghanistan-help-displaced-families

https://miles4migrants.org

Contact your elected officials:

Text “Crisis” to 52886

https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/president-biden-must-support-the-most-vulnerable-in-afghanistan-as-part-of-the-withdrawal-plan

Immigration Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/10-SLGJEb39jpN_vEw8ruvba3iS1BmeU5QoW1AdGEL7M/edit

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/afghanistan/how.html

Texas based refugee services:

https://www.rstx.org

https://austintexas.gov/department/refugee-services

https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory/organization.393322-Refugee_Services_of_Texas_Austin_Office

https://www.amplifyatx.org/organizations/refugeeservicesoftexas

http://www.raicestexas.org

https://amaanahservices.org

http://thealliancetx.org

https://catholiccharities.org/supporting-refugees-immigrants/refugee-services/

Social Media Manager | + posts

Ben brings over four years of experience as a political communications manager and graphic designer to Texas Signal, where he serves as our Social Media Manager and does everything from designing graphics and posting on social media, to writing a column about current events. Ben was the Social Media Director for College Democrats of America during the historic 2018 midterms when Democrats swept the House of Representatives. Ben was a first-generation university student and graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration.

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