We are witnessing a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. While a continued presence in the country may not be in our interest, the lives and dignity of those left vulnerable must be the concern of all people of conscience.
The resurgence of Taliban control, following the withdrawal of international troops, threatens the freedom of thought and speech, the human rights of women, children, and LGBTQ+ people, as well as humanists and others who are nontheist.
On top of keeping our borders open to asylum seekers from Afghanistan and avoiding the deportation of any current Afghans residing in the US, we urge the US government to go further and to increase the number of refugees to best accommodate the refugee crisis that is just starting. Those who are at particular risks – such as people who are LGBTQ+, humanists, or adhere minority faiths, and those who have worked toward promoting human rights, democracy, and education – should be afforded extra attention and support. And the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan must be protected. Ongoing support toward local non-governmental programs that promote women’s rights, as well as human rights, children’s rights, education, and healthcare, will be vital.
We need to hold all parties, directly or indirectly supporting the Taliban, accountable for their actions. We must continue to put pressure on the US government, international governments, and the UN to take swift and effective action.
Human rights must be the center of our foreign policy. So, as a human rights crisis unfolds in Afghanistan, we must respond swiftly and effectively to support those in need.