Almost three months after the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Pentagon has come to the realization that Americans left behind need to get out. According to NBC News, “The Pentagon is stepping up efforts to get family members of U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, creating a database of the dozens who are trapped there.”
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl is asking military personnel and Defense Department civilians with immediate family members who remain in Afghanistan but want to leave to email his office. The email must include names along with “passport, contact and other personal information about the members so they can be added to the database.” The security of this database should come into question, especially when in August news that the biometrics system with our Afghan allies’ information fell into the hands of the Taliban.
Still, with all of the identifiable information, how are these family members going to be rescued? NBC News reports, “The Pentagon does not have a good accounting of how many DOD civilians still have immediate family members in Afghanistan.” Also, according to one official, “The U.S. military will not have a role in actually getting the people out of the country.”
Since the withdrawal took place, private citizens have come together to try to evacuate the friends, families and allies that the Biden administration left behind. The Biden administration has even been called out for taking credit for some of these successful missions in which they not only did not assist but actually tried to stop.
NBC News writes, “A defense official said the memo shows ‘a more deliberate effort at the DOD level’ to keep track of how many people are impacted. The official said there is real momentum to help get immediate family members out. ‘There is an increased desire to make sure that as we make this push that we have every situation accounted for,’ the official said, adding that they are trying to ‘expand the reach’ to make sure DOD personnel and their families are getting help.”
Where was this sense of urgency two and half months ago when these family members first went into hiding? Why wasn’t there a “deliberate effort” with “real momentum” and an “increased desire” to immediately help rescue those we left behind? Adding names to a database now, after the completed withdrawal, is unproductive especially since the U.S. military will have no role in evacuating the family members left in Afghanistan.
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Mental health crisis spikes among Afghan women after Taliban regained control two years ago
The women of Afghanistan are suffering a mental health crisis since the Taliban regained power two years ago. According to a joint report from three U.N. agencies released Tuesday, approximately 70% of women experience feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression.
The numbers continue to rise, as there has already been a significant jump between April and June of this year alone, with an increase from 57% the preceding quarter.
The report, conducted by U.N. Women, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, interviewed women online, in-person and in group consultations as well as individual telesurveys.
592 Afghan women in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces took part in the study. The Associated Press reports:
They have barred women from most areas of public life and work and banned girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade. They have prohibited Afghan women from working at local and non-governmental organizations. The ban was extended to employees of the United Nations in April.
Opportunities to study continued to shrink as community-based education by international organizations was banned and home-based schooling initiatives were regularly shut down by the de facto authorities — a term use by the U.N. for the Taliban government.
Afghanistan is the only country in the world with restrictions on female education and the rights of Afghan women and children are on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
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