Over the last 24 hours, flights have taken off from Mazar carrying foreign nationals and visa holders. Around 1000 people remain grounded in Mazar, including all of our people who were originally intended for these flights. Suffice to say the problem in Mazar is far from solved. Vulnerable Afghan citizens desperate to leave remain stranded, and many are unable to return to Kabul; some have given up their housing, while others are high risk and cannot go back for fear of their and their families safety.
While the situation in Mazar grows increasingly frustrating, the new interim Taliban government in Kabul is setting a dispiriting political direction. Despite promises of an inclusive and new kind of administration, official comments from the government this week denounced Afghan women playing sport.
In this crucial period, as Afghanistan’s new state and society begins to take shape under a new government, the international community must push back against the continuation of hardline repressive principles and lack of female representation. It is not too late to commit the Taliban government to respecting the rights of women in society - including in sport.
On the ground, our best hope is to secure visas for Afghans seeking to leave the country. Please continue to lobby your local representatives and governments; every message makes a difference. Thanks to the work of the Ascend community, we have received vital visa offers for some of our people, including from Ireland, Chile and Denmark. These are life changing offers, but we need more of them.
We also need basic resources to help relocate our people to the countries who have already offered visas. We need $75k to get our people settled in Ireland. We need $40k to get our people to Chile. This would secure their vital needs in the immediate term, such as flights, temporary housing, clothing and cash. We are also looking for connections to airlines, in particular Qatar Airways.