With U.S. now out of Afghanistan, central Ohio looking to offer help to refugees

Columbus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With the United States now out of Afghanistan, Afghan citizens desperate to leave the country are now trapped under Taliban rule.

“I have the freedom to choose my future, we have to give the Afghan people that choice,” said Noorgul Dada, organizer of the Hidayah Institute.

Dada is a former Afghan resident who fled to the United States with his family at the age of 10.

He said coming here changed his life and believes that any Afghan allies willing to do so should be given that chance too.

However, he said the United States’ poor evacuation of the country added to the refugee crisis.

“I personally believe it was the best thing for them to pull out, but how they pulled out is obviously something that obviously I didn’t like, and I don’t think anybody liked because of the chaos it created,” Dada said.

“Judging from what we all saw at the airport, it’s pretty clear that the apprehension is huge,” said Dr. Margaret Mills, emeritus professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University.

Years ago, Mills wrote her dissertation on multiple Afghan families with who she’s still in contact today, and she says that the future for Afghan residents, especially women, is in peril with the U.S. being gone.

“Opportunities for education certainly increased, professionalism for women certainly increased, and it was especially obvious in Kabul, but it was true in the other major cities as well,” Mills said. “And then, of course, when the Taliban came in, all those women were sent home.”

This is why people like Dada are working to provide support through the Hidayah Institute, a non-profit which raises money to aid vulnerable and displaced families in Afghanistan.

However, he’s worried that without the U.S., that support won’t go to the people who need it.

“There is not even aid going in, there is food shortages, medical supply shortages, so that’s my concern is how are we going to get those supplies to some of those people,” Dada said.

For more information on how to sponsor or support Afghan refugees in need, click here.

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