Terrified and threatened – these are the images and emails I am receiving from Afghanistan today – you can help

August 17, 2021
American soldiers at Kabul airport point their guns at civilians and scream obscenities at already terrified Afghans. (Social Media, The Guardian)

Afghans have been sending desperate appeals for help via email, social media, and phone calls for weeks. Some who managed to get to the airport yesterday were threatened at gun point and sworn at by American soldiers.

With the help of a brave Afghan colleague in Kabul, we have been collecting documents and filing Referrals for the evacuation of Afghans who have worked with Community Supported Film and advising others on the Priority 2 designation being given to Afghans that have worked with US NGOs and media organizations.

Please contact your senators and representatives and tell them that the Priority 2 Referral program that they legislated on August 2nd is not being implemented fast enough to save Afghans who have worked with the media and international NGOs. TARGETED KILLINGS ARE HAPPENING – despite the sweet talk of the Taliban.

We have submitted multiple documented referrals since August 10th, before this last weekend’s crisis in Kabul, and we have not received Confirmations of Receipt or Case Numbers as the instructions say we should.

We don’t know what to tell the families we are trying to help. We need clarity from the US government about the evacuation process. Should Afghans trust the unknown process and wait to be called to evacuate or should they be going to Kabul Airport to argue their way onto a plane? Who is being taken on the 170 US military flights that have passed through Kabul August 15-16? Is it true that you must know a code to get through the ‘American’ gate? Some tell us that people who were turned away from that gate were identified and killed. If one only has one chance to get to and through the ‘American’ gate then American leadership must define what is required.

Here is an excerpt of just one of the emails I received today, [name changed – one of the TFOL filmmakers]:

Sir, I just want to take a brief moment of you to describe Mohammed’s situation. We spoke with him for hours last night. He has totally lost his decision making capacity and is in absolute panic. He has been suffering from constant panic attacks and has repeatedly cried and said that the Taliban will kill him. There is no way around it for him to survive. He has lost his mental stability. In fear of the Taliban, he was trying to burn all his documents, passport and e-mails he was receiving from you. He thinks the Taliban will get access to his e-mail and documents. 

His wife and children are so desperate and asking for help. It is heart wrenching that we are here and can’t do anything but watch them suffer. I lived under the brutal Taliban dark regime in Afghanistan 20 years ago when I was a high school student and experienced a tragic life. Having seen them return to Kabul, it freshened my sore and pain that I suffered under their rule. 

I know you kindly referred Mohammed to apply for P2 going to another country. You are well aware of the situation that all borders are locked and it is a lengthy process. Mohammed is in extreme danger and in a fearful mental state. He cannot even make a small decision as he fears that if he walks out of the house, he will get killed. We beg you, if you could do anything to include him in this current evacuation plan so he and his family along with his children can be saved. We all know how unpredictable Taliban are and God forbid if in a week we find out that Mohammed or any of his family members get killed by Taliban, we will not forgive ourselves for the rest of our lives. 

Please contact whomever you can.  We need to act fast to get the US government to act responsibly. michael@csfilm.org

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