Let’s summon our better angels to welcome Afghan refugees
The last soldier has left Afghanistan. The longest war in American history has ended.
No matter where we turn — be it news channels, social media or local newspapers — we are bombarded by those casting blame about who’s at fault for the rushed evacuation and stranding of American citizens and Afghan allies in a country controlled by the Taliban.
It’s enough to make you feel helpless, but you are not. Now is the time to stand up and do your part to help.
After weeks of intense evacuation efforts, American troops completed the dangerous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Thanks to the selfless courage of our service members — including 13 American heroes who gave their last full measure — the U.S. armed forces successfully evacuated around 120,000 U.S. citizens, citizens of allied nations, and Afghan allies.
While many of those evacuated are returning to America or abroad, tens of thousands of Afghan allies and their families face a new reality: beginning a new life in a new country with no more than the clothes on their back.
These Afghan allies are more than just former citizens of Afghanistan. They are heroes who fought alongside our troops for the past two decades. After our service women and men returned from deployment, they continued to fight for a free Afghanistan.
Some are interpreters attached to U.S. military units who aided in critical operations. Others are Afghan military veterans who stood up against corruption and death threats to fight for freedom. Some are embassy workers who assisted U.S. citizens traveling in-country for the past 20 years.
Above all, the Afghans who arrive at Fort Bliss, Texas, and in our communities across the country are friends to our military. The service they provided over the years helped save countless American lives.
As civilians, it may be hard to understand the dynamic bond formed between American troops and Afghan allies. We must look beyond the false narrative unfairly orchestrated by some to see the truth: These allies have risked their lives, and the lives of their entire families, to support America’s mission in Afghanistan.
Now, we need your help to show these refugees our better angels.
Our nonprofit Soldiers’ Angels was contacted by military bases across the country that are in urgent need of help preparing to host thousands of Afghan refugees. They are seeking clothing, hygiene items, household items, toys, school supplies — anything that will give these friends of America’s military the welcome they deserve.
The list of items the military installations have requested is long, but we are focusing on these emergency needs that will be a lifeline for refugees faced with starting new lives in America.
Now is the time to extend our hand of friendship and do what each of us can to support our allies who worked and fought alongside our service women and men in Afghanistan.
Please visit soldiersangels.org to learn what you can do to help.
Amy Palmer is the president and CEO of Soldiers’ Angels and a U.S. Air Force veteran. Founded in 2003, Soldiers' Angels is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides aid, comfort and resources to the military, veterans and their families.