A topic that has been in the news a lot recently is the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent takeover of the country by the Taliban, which is creating a humanitarian crisis for hundreds of thousands of people still trapped in Afghanistan.
The U.S. relied on the support of Afghans for its military operation in the country over the last two decades, employing or contracting with many of them as interpreters, drivers, and Embassy staff, among other positions, and training many for the Afghan military. As the Taliban take over the country, they are targeting these individuals, often going from house to house and stopping people at checkpoints to search for any ties that they may have to the U.S. government, its operation in the country, or to the U.S. in general. If these connections are found, the individuals risk being beaten, kidnapped, or killed.
The Taliban also haves a history of suppressing women’s rights. Under Taliban rule previously, women were forbidden from working and girls could not attend school. Access to medical care was limited or nonexistent. Women could not leave their homes without a male accompanying them and they had to wear a burqa, covering them from head to toe. Acting out against these restrictions often resulted in beatings or death. It is feared that these repressive practices will return with the Taliban now, taking away all of the gains that have been made for gender equality in Afghanistan since the end of the Taliban regime. Women have already been told not to leave their homes as the Taliban forces may mistreat them and women fear the kidnapping of girls of marrying age who will be forced to marry Taliban fighters.
In the last few weeks, human rights advocates and immigration attorneys have tried to expedite the evacuation of these at-risk individuals from the country, in addition to the evacuation of the thousands of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and families of citizens and permanent residents who live there. There are programs in place for Afghans to apply for visas to or parole into the United States. Many require sponsorship by individuals or organizations in the U.S. Sadly, time is running out for much more to be done; time is of the essence.
For those who are evacuated, many will need assistance as they establish their lives in the U.S. They will need access to housing, clothing, food, and school supplies. Thankfully, there are many refugee assistance programs in place to start with this help, but community members can provide support as well.
If you know someone who is trying to get out of Afghanistan, or you would like to help support an individual or family who is looking to resettle in Connecticut, please contact Meghann E. LaFountain, Esq. at LaFountain Immigration Law, LLC. Her contact information is below.
Meghann E. LaFountain, Esq.
LaFountain Immigration Law, LLC
100 Riverview Center, Suite 280
Middletown, CT 06457