What's happening in Afghanistan and how you can support

Image credit: Flickr/Barbara Millucci

On 15th August, Afghanistan’s capital city - Kabul - was captured by the Taliban after a nine-day sweeping offensive across the country. The escalation of violence and insecurity in Afghanistan has shaken the world. Since the Taliban solidified rule over the country, many now fear for their lives, including women and girls, ethnic minorities, NGO workers, journalists and other vulnerable groups. This has led to thousands of people waiting outside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport with their belongings in suitcases and their lives left behind; clinging onto hope of a better and safer future.

Women marching in London in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan

As people around the world march to show solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, we look at how the situation unfolded. The world is currently facing a humanitarian crisis like no other, with many in Afghanistan in need of urgent care. Last month, the UN stated that 18.4 million people (nearly half of the country’s population) need humanitarian aid. This number is likely to rise even more.

Before the Taliban was ousted in 2001, women and girls were particularly limited in their rights. From girls being unable to receive an education through to women not being able to work or leave the house without male supervision; these limitations have lasting effects.

Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

Now, the current situation has not only put the lives of many at risk but has also threatened their basic human rights including personal security, access to education, right to work and even access to shelter, water and food. In fact, one-third of Afghanistan’s population (14 million people) are currently facing food insecurity, including two million children who are already malnourished. 

Credit: UNAMA / Eric Kanalstein

Prior to this, Afghanistan was the country with the largest internally displaced population (4.1 million) and between May to August 2021, 300,000 additional people have been forced to leave their homes towards uncertainty.

What’s currently happening in Afghanistan has threatened decades of progress, from gender equality to access to education and even the fight to eradicate polio. For example, between 2001-2020, school  enrollment rose from 900,000 male students to more than 9.5 million children, nearly 40% of which were girls. The steps taken towards equality in Afghanistan in the last two decades isn’t just proof that progress is possible, but that progress is necessary.

Despite all the challenges the people of Afghanistan now face, organisations have been working tirelessly on the ground to help as many people as possible. Your support can go a long way in helping these organisations continue their vital work and help prevent the reversal of progress towards gender equality, education and healthcare.

Here are organisations you can support:

  • Homaira Rahman Foundation and The Children of War have teamed up to provide the most vulnerable in Afghanistan with emergency relief such as shelter, food and water.
  • Enabled Child Initiative gathers funds to secure emergency relief to families in the makeshift camps located in the outskirts of Kabul and to continue to support orphaned and abandoned children.
  • Educate a Child for Change Organization (ECCO) are providing women and their families who have been displaced with healthcare products, including diapers and sanitary products.
  • Afghan Learning Academy is providing food, shelter, blankets, tents and other first aid essentials to newly displaced families in Kandahar.
  • Charmaghz have turned buses into mobile libraries and visit multiple localities to ensure children have a space for a wide range of activities including reading, debating and playing.
  • Ishkar has launched a photography print sale fundraiser in order to help Emergency’s hospitals in Afghanistan during this extremely difficult time. 
  • The Norwegian Refugee Council is providing support to women and girls, educational programmes, food, legal aid and shelter across Afghanistan, especially in hard-to-reach areas. 
  • Nowzad provides frontline care to abandoned and stray animals in Afghanistan. Donations will allow Nowzad to feed animals, maintain the upkeep of the shelter, provide any medical treatments the animals may need and support the employees who are currently at risk.

With almost half of the country’s population below 15 years of age, protecting the lives of Afghans means protecting their future and protecting humanity. The Global Goals were agreed in order to tackle the world’s greatest issues and Afghanistan is now in fact dealing with grave challenges that need to urgently be addressed. We all have a role to play, and each individual action can have a lasting impact.

So why not start now? Because change, progress and peace cannot wait.