Nobody will argue that it was time for the war in Afghanistan to come to an end. Having cost two trillion dollars and more than 2,400 American lives, this twenty-year endeavor had run its course. But the passage of six months has irrefutably proven that the August 2021 U.S. withdrawal was poorly planned and executed, and has directly caused a deadly humanitarian crisis for our Afghan allies left behind.

The rapidity of our departure caused widespread, cascading effects, starting with the chaotic scenes at the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), where people threw babies over the wired fences, and desperately clung to airplanes as they took off. Americans must never forget the 13 U.S. service members who gave their lives in the August 26th explosion near the HKIA Abbey Gate, and about 170 others died in that attack, which also wounded an additional five U.S. service members.  

Adding insult to injury, the August 29th retaliatory drone strike conducted by the U.S., targeting a man believed to be responsible for the bombing, instead killed the employee of an international aid organization. In total, the airstrike killed ten civilians, including seven innocent children. When U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Stuart Scheller spoke out and demanded accountability for the airstrike, and the death of his 13 fellow service members, he was relieved of his command and imprisoned – in solitary confinement. He has since been released, and is no longer serving in the Marine Corps. These victims still await accountability for their needless deaths.

With the hasty and arbitrary withdrawal timeline, there was no methodical and intentional process to safeguard against Afghanistan’s collapse. When the last U.S. soldier left Afghanistan on August 30th, 2021, it was clear the country was not prepared to stand on its own. As the Afghan military and government speedily collapsed, the people of Afghanistan were left to fend for themselves, while the international community remains relatively silent.  

Several veteran-led organizations, such as Operation North Star, stepped in to help rescue Americans and allies left behind in Afghanistan. With no government funds, these volunteers work countless hours and sleepless nights trying to provide welfare and safety for their friends, allies and their families. For most, this has been a very heavy lift. Stress levels are high as volunteers remotely manage safe houses, food, and emergency medical services, with the end goal of arranging travel out of Afghanistan for people who are actively being hunted by the Taliban. An astonishing number of people contact these veteran groups asking for help. Many volunteers develop emotional attachments to these Afghan allies, and feel devastation when they receive panicked calls and messages from people fearing for their lives.  

While mainstream media has now shifted its focus to the war in Ukraine, the threat in Afghanistan is still ongoing. The Taliban regularly carry out reprisal killings against former Afghan government officials and military personnel, oftentimes in a brutal fashion. Women’s rights activists and journalists are frequent victims as well. The Taliban’s campaign is enabled by an estimated $85 billion worth of U.S. vehicles, weapons and technology, which were intentionally left behind in the haphazard U.S. withdrawal.

For allies left behind in Afghanistan, the situation is bleak. Sustainment money from donors for private efforts has evaporated. Allies and their families are essentially trapped inside of Afghanistan with no way out. Most borders are closed or highly monitored to detect the Taliban’s high-value targets, who are then kidnapped and killed. Since January 2022, evacuation flights have been few and far between. Further, many Afghans looking to flee the country lack the proper paperwork to get on the flights that are leaving.

When the U.S. left Afghanistan, they closed the U.S. embassy, creating a massive backlog of visa applications, which the Department of State was not prepared to address. Waiting several years to obtain a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) is a terrifying prospect for many Afghans, and high-risk personnel fear going to the Taliban-controlled Kabul passport office to acquire the passport required to apply for a foreign visa, because they will most certainly be killed there, as so many already have.

Veteran organizations like Operation North Star are running out of donations and veterans’ personal funds, and are finding it nearly impossible to get Afghans to safety. To increase their effectiveness in the media and on Capitol Hill, 17 volunteer groups have united under the leadership of the Special Operations Association of America. as the “Moral Compass Federation.” to lobby for meaningful policy changes to save the lives of our Afghan allies and their families.  

As war in Ukraine diverts attention and funding from the gross injustices in Afghanistan, the Moral Compass Federation’s mission is more important than ever. The nearly 2 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian forces will further impede the Department of State’s ability to assist Afghans.  Combine this with the now dried-up private funding, and the situation in Afghanistan became exponentially worse overnight. Please join us to fulfill the promises America made to protect those who fought alongside U.S. forces, saving countless American lives over twenty years of battle against terrorists Everyone’s moral compass should point to these life-saving humanitarian efforts.

Source (99+) With All Eyes On Ukraine, The Situation In Afghanistan Worsens | LinkedIn

By block head

Block Head is a blockchain journalist.