Gut-wrenching scenes out of Kabul and endless reports of the deteriorating situation as Afghanistan falls under Taliban control have left many feeling helpless.
But there are some things you can do.
If you are in a position to donate, financial contributions can go a long way.
With some humanitarian organisations forced to flee or unable to operate in Afghanistan at this time, organisations like the UNHCR and CARE Australia, which have been in Afghanistan for decades, are some of the few still on the ground.
With the Taliban assuming power, the future of girls and women in Afghanistan is uncertain.
Organisations such as Women for Women International, Mahboba’s Promise and the Yalda Hakim Foundation all work to advance the lives of girls and women, including providing education and career opportunities.
Save the Children has suspended operations in Afghanistan but says it aims to resume its work there as soon as it is safe to do so.
Here are organisations active in Afghanistan or operating in neighbouring countries and overseas, including Australia, to support Afghans.
Many are running fundraising appeals for Afghanistan.
‘Keep attention on what’s going on’
Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights CEO Diana Sayed encouraged people to mobilise on the issue by signing petitions and contacting officials about the humanitarian response you would like to see from government.
“There is so much you can do and Australia has a moral imperative to us, to show up in our time of need,” Ms Sayed told the ABC’s Q+A.
International security expert and fellow panelist Lydia Khalil echoed calls for people use their voice and write to their local member of parliament.
“Contact your local MPs, particularly MPs that are still in government to signal there is support in Australia for increased humanitarian intake.” Ms Khalil said.
“There will be a narrative out there saying that Australians don’t want more [humanitarian intake], that they can’t handle more. Signal your support … to counter that argument.
“And also, keep sustained attention because the media cycle moves on, people move on, there is no shortage of misery in the world.
Reaching out and engaging with your local Afghan community members and groups is another way of supporting the community.
There are also a range state and territory based not-for-profit organisations that provide ongoing support to refugees resettling in Australia. ranging from housing, counselling, emergency relief and social inclusion.
Beata Ostapiej Piatkowski, from the Romero Centre in Brisbane, said it was important to remember the trauma being relived by the many in Australia’s Afghan community.
“We need to remember that our Afghan part of community might be currently facing horrific memories of the last few days and be mindful that many minds might be still present with their loved ones who are still in Afghanistan,” she said.
“As Australians, we can understand what relieving trauma means and the importance of our ability to hold a safe, non-intrusive space for those who are experiencing that.
“Being gentle, welcoming and compassionately supportive in assisting our Afghan friends to be linked with appropriate local community services is the essential first step.”
Keep an eye on your mental health
You might not think that how you’re feeling matters in comparison to the experience of Afghans, but recognising the toll that traumatic news can take on your mental health is important.
Open Arms is reminding Australian Defence Force personnel, veterans and their families to reach out to their support services, including free anonymous counselling and programs.
- Open Arms – 1800 011 046
- Open Arms Safe Zone Support anonymous counselling – 1800 142 072
Afghanistan veteran and Victoria Cross recipient Daniel Keighran reiterated this on Q+A.
“As veteran of Afghanistan, multiple tours, I would say to the veterans who have experienced concern, certainly form the scenes from Kabul recently, if you do need help … Open Arms are there to support you,” he said.
“Please reach out if required.”