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Update from Kabul

A lot has happened over the last 24-48 hours. The only thing that has remained unchanged is the chaos and insecurity at the airport - the only gateway out of Afghanistan. Despite assurances from a number of countries, the airport has not been secured.

At the same time, the Taliban have been courting the international media, delivering messages that women will be able to take part in Afghan society, within Islamic law. They are not willing to define what this means, and there are already stories of women being harassed, beaten and pushed aside.

We could not put it better than one of the girls on our program, who messaged in terror:

The Taliban will never allow you and me to exercise as a girl. Over the last years they have killed us Afghan women, assassinated civil activists, journalists and school classrooms.

Tyranny and war are in their blood. They are a terrorist group and the world must not fall for their deceptive statements.

A humanitarian disaster is unfolding. At present, an uncoordinated and panicked evacuation of largely foreign nationals is putting civilian lives in danger - the very lives that we came to protect.

At present, all of our girls are safe. However, it is a constantly evolving situation. We have been liaising with a number of different parties to push for their evacuation as a priority, given their extremely vulnerable status. Whilst there has been some progress, it is too slow and time is of the essence. We continue to provide support for all those at Ascend, working 24/7 to evacuate them and their families.

If you’d like to help, there are two things you can do.

  1. Awareness and lobbying: Spreading awareness about what is happening and lobbying our representatives is probably the best way to get some of the girls out. We need to evacuate women who are at risk but don’t yet have their visas. We need public outcry and political will.

  2. Donate to Ascend. We are using donations to help Ascend-affiliated girls and their families leave the country. This involves paying for visas, plane tickets, and travel expenses, plus providing cash for wherever they land.

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I am going to message whomever I can in the USA after becoming aware of Ascend Athletics - and Women4Afghan Women - from Pen Farthing at Nowzad. We will not forget you or the Nowzad team and animals! We here in the UK are thinking of you.

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