Millions of Afghans are in need of help after the Taliban took over Kabul and declared the country was under their control.
Despite two decades of a US military presence and a war that cost over a trillion dollars, insurgents from the militant group arrived at the gates of the capital on Sunday and took the city quickly, with little resistance.
The fall of Kabul followed weeks of fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces after the swift pull out of US and British troops this summer.
US-backed President Ashraf Ghani escaped to Tajikistan, effectively ceding power and bringing the 20-year Western occupation of Afghanistan to an end.
The move sparked a mass exodus as thousands of nationals and foreigners attempted to flee the country.
At least five people are thought to have died in chaotic attempts to board flights at Kabul airport and escape the Taliban.
The militants insisted that they were seeking a peaceful takeover of power – but the assurances are being treated with deep scepticism.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace fought back tears this morning as he admitted that not everybody could be rescued, amid a scramble to evacuate British nationals and local allies.
How to help people in Afghanistan
Campaigners are urging people to write to their MPs to demand safe passages for refugees from Afghanistan.
There are deep fears over the safety of people who worked with occupying armies over the last two decades.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that the Home Office is reluctant to give many people asylum because of the message it will send to other refugees, quoting senior military sources.
Parliament is being recalled on Wednesday for ministers to discuss the crisis.
Many people on Twitter have shared templates of letters to send to MPs to push them on ways to help asylum seekers.
You can find your local MP here
There is particular concern for women and girls who are expected to have few rights under the new regime.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 with a harsh form of Islamic law that saw women largely confined to their homes and suspected criminals faced with amputation or public execution.
The Taliban are expected to proclaim a new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in the coming days.
They claim they want to create an ‘open, inclusive Islamic Government’, but many Afghans fear a rollback of individual rights gained in recent years.
There are already reports that the Taliban are seizing girls as young as 12 to be their ‘sex slaves’ in some cities.
With the situation looking increasingly desperate, many people are wondering what they can to do to help.
Politicians and campaigners have been flagging charities that support refugees – and we’ve rounded up some here.
Charities helping Afghanistan
Former Tory MP Rory Stewart has set up a crowdfunder to help people in Afghanistan.
He tweeted the link, saying: ‘Afghanistan has been betrayed into horror + it’s easy to feel helpless. But we can still support people on the ground. We have a small charity supporting a few 1000. Please donate if you can below. And there are, of course, many other great charities too.’
The money will go to The Turquoise Mountain Trust, which has been working in Afghanistan for over 15 years.
The charity warned Afghanistan is facing a ‘humanitarian crisis’ but said that it has a network of programmes and staff ‘that can provide support swiftly and effectively’.
At the time of writing, over £84,000 has been donated. You can make a donation here
Mr Stewart added that all major humanitarian agencies and NGOs are helping people in Afghanistan.
Flagging the Twitter handles of some he said: ‘I particularly admire @TheHALOTrust, Save, @AkdnAfg , @mercycorps , Care, @oxfamgb and @UNICEF in Afghanistan for starters – all would use support wisely.’
Mercy Corps said it is working quickly to get clean water and sanitation supplies to families who fled Kabul and vowed to stay ‘as long as we safely can’.
Details on how to support the charity, including making a donation, can be found here.
Unicef, a UN agency which provides aid to children, is also on the ground in Afghanistan.
The charity said it is delivering life-saving supplies to those in need. You can make a donation to Unicef Afghanistan here.
Below is a list of some other charities asking for donations to help refugees.
Charities helping Afghanistan
Turquoise Mountain Trust
United Nations Refugee Agency
British Red Cross
The International Rescue Committee
Open Hearts, Open Borders
War Child, Afghanistan
Women for Afghan Women
More charities can be found under this thread from Writer Kate Foster:
Supporting women in Afghanistan
Many charities are offering targeted support for women in Afghanistan, amid fears their rights will be completely stripped away.
Ads depicting women were painted over within hours of the Taliban entering Kabul yesterday.
Women for Afghan Women (WAW) is the largest women’s organisation in Afghanistan.
The charity said it is ‘heartbroken at the speed and extent to which the violence and escalating conflict in Afghanistan has threatened the innocent lives of millions and displaced hundreds of thousands’.
It added: ‘We are determined to employ every resource we have to meet the needs of the emergency currently engulfing Afghanistan and its people.’
Donations to the charity can be made here.
You can also support the charity buy making a purchase on Amazon Smile. By doing this, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to WAW.
Rukhshana Media is also asking for donations to help continue raising awareness of women’s issues in Afghanistan.
The organisation, named after a woman who was stoned to death by the Taliban in 2015, was set up by journalist Zahra Joya last year.
The 28-year-old had to dress up as a boy so she could go to school in the 1990s and fears a return to those days.
On a donation page to keep the crucial media project going she said: ‘After one year of supporting Rukhshana Media, I came to the unfortunate conclusion that I can no longer financially back it.
‘This has been a difficult choice to make: now more than ever, as our worst nightmares come true, Afghan women need a platform to speak for themselves. As news of the Taliban’s return haunts Afghanistan and my Afghan sisters, the survival of Rukhshana Media depends on your help.’
You can make a donation here
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