Thousands of Afghans are at serious risk of Taliban reprisals—your support ensures Amnesty is working to protect those in danger.
“The Taliban are searching for me,” Mahmud, a human rights defender, told Amnesty International researchers following the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15. “They found another colleague who was beaten by them. All my staff members are underground.”
Aadila is a journalist who was based in Kabul. She told Amnesty that at first she decided to stay in Afghanistan and continue her work—until the Taliban came to her home one night asking for her. She left the country shortly afterwards.
In the weeks since taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have already committed human rights violations—reprisal attacks, restrictions on women, and crackdowns on protests and the media.
Human rights defenders are under attack. Their offices and homes have been raided. Colleagues have been beaten. They are forced into permanent hiding. They live under the constant threat of arrest, torture, or worse.
With your support, Amnesty International was able to evacuate several families who had members working with Amnesty.
The evacuation efforts were complex and involved the work of dozens of people across an international network. Hopes were repeatedly raised and dashed. Seats were secured on planes out of Kabul, but it was then impossible for the families to get into the airport because of the huge crowds and the risk of bomb attacks.
The families next took the long, dangerous journey over land to Pakistan. Finally, they were able to fly out to Europe, arriving tired, relieved, and very grateful for the support and warm welcome.
“In just a matter of a day, my school building turned into a Taliban military base, my hopes shattered, my future uncertain, and the lives of my family members in great danger,” said 14-year-old Khalid (name changed). “I’m grateful for the support of Amnesty. I’m now back to school in Europe. I’d like to become a pilot and fly more people to safety.”
This article was published in The Candle print newsletter, Fall 2021