Seven filmmakers and their families have now safely arrived in countries outside Afghanistan. Sixteen of our Afghan journalists, documentary filmmakers, cultural workers, and rights advocates still need to get out.
The remaining are making life and death choices about whether to shelter in place, move locations or take buses across the country with their families. If they take to the roads they face the terror of Taliban checkpoints, with people being beaten or killed, as they try to reach borders or flights.
THANK YOU to the many of you who have donated to our Afghan Evacuation & Resettlement Fund. You provided over $20,000 in the first 5 days. We immediately made $10,000 available to our group of evacuees so that they can consider a variety of evacuation options. But we need much more support to fuel and sustain this incredibly complex effort that may last months, if not years.
Here from this morning is just one family’s email [names and details changed for protection]:
Mr. Michael, I just spoke to my brother Mohammad. He had a very bad news for me. Taliban came after them last night around 3am. Two Taliban guys knocked the door. My brothers, Mom, kids and women were horrified and saw the Taliban from the window. They kept knocking and waited for about 6 minutes then left. My brothers are frightened, and everyone is worried sick. This is so alarming. Taliban won’t let go.
We are doing everything we can to discover and plan for cross-border and airlift options, to get visas, and to monitor conditions on roads. Last night we called ground control at the airport in Mazar-e-Sherif to tell them that eleven Hazara minorities, including one of our families, were at the airport gate being beaten back by the Taliban. These eleven high risk individuals had tickets and Pakistan visas to travel on a UN plane to Islamabad. Ground control told me they would escort them, but the Taliban stopped the escort and shut the airport down. The plane left. Empty.
We cannot look away. We must support these people who have contributed significantly to their country’s effort to develop through the powers of journalism, awareness building and women and human rights advocacy. The 13th century has returned, slaying musicians, journalists, enemy sympathizers, and rights activists but progress will win over the backwardness of isolationist oppression and reactionary extremism.
We need tens of thousands of dollars to support these families through their evacuation and the many months if not years of migratory limbo their impoverished lives must endure.
Please do what you can to contribute to the Afghan Evacuation & Resettlement Fund. Without it we will not save these brilliant minds and change agents from the crushing and dehumanizing blows of the Taliban.