The Aftermath of the Evacuation of Afghan Refugees

In this handout image courtesy of the US Marine Corps, Families begin to board a US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 23, 2021. © Samuel Ruiz, US Marine Corps via AFP

Following the United States departure and the subsequent destructive Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the politically vulnerable nation has suffered devastating losses to its civil society and political institutions.

Afghan civilians are fleeing their home country in hopes of finding refuge in a nation that allows them the right to personal security, education, religion, and expression — all rights that have been brutally imposed upon and taken away by the oppressive authority of the Taliban. Marginalized groups, such as women and minority indigenous groups, the Hazaras, are desperately seeking a way out of their war-torn nation, and the refugee crisis that has come from their displacement has been and will continue to only escalate.

An international collaborative effort is needed to address this issue and requires capable, able and affluent global leaders to allow and safeguard the rights of refugees by granting them asylum and providing suitable temporary living quarters.

In the last month, the U.S. airlifted more than 122,000 civilians, while thousands of Afghans fled on foot to neighboring Iran and Pakistan. However, while certain nations are hosting significant numbers of refugees, others are actively preventing an influx of refugees through physical borders/walls and strict asylum procedures.

For example, when small groups of Afghans tried to enter Europe through Turkey, they were met with Turkish authorities building walls and increasing the presence of border patrol around the country’s land border with Iran. According to officials, more than 40,000 Afghans have been denied entry into the country so far this year.

The U.S. House of Representatives has allocated $6.3bn in emergency assistance funds to aid in resettlement efforts for incoming Afghans, allowing agencies and organizations involved to use these resources to help refugees create a foundation in the U.S. and assist them in building a safe, sustainable and opportunistic life.

The Afghans fleeing to the United States are admitted through Humanitarian Parole — a process that prioritizes certain groups, such as refugees, going through demanding security vetting processes and expedites the issuance of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs). However, the challenge lies in the inequitable allocation of resources to different groups deemed priority over others under Humanitarian Parole. As a result, there are a significant amount of incoming Afghan refugees that are not privy to resources including employment and housing assistance, cash assistance and education opportunities.

Resource allocation is a fundamental aspect to refugee resettlement and vital to providing resources and safeguarding Afghans’ human rights, but congressional action is crucial in addressing the long-term future of Afghan refugees. Asylum and visa processes can take many years. Legislative measures must be taken to address this issue, and guarantee the longevity of Afghans’ wellbeing in the U.S. Providing incoming refugees with financial and legal resources is crucial in expediting the citizenship process and helping Afghans build a long-term and prosperous life in the U.S.

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