We support women and girls in war and crisis zones
12. May 2022 - News

Suddenly everything changes – Evacuations from Afghanistan

August 2021: After the hasty withdrawal of NATO troops, the Taliban move in. They take over the country in full view of the international community. medica mondiale is very concerned about the lives of their Afghan colleagues and does everything it can to get them to safety. A glance back at recent, turbulent months – and a first look forward.

 A woman wearing a blue burka stands in front of a glass door. On the door there is an information poster.

After the Taliban assume power in Afghanistan, the daily work routine at medica mondiale is turned upside down. Around the clock we work to try and ensure our Afghan colleagues and their families can escape the dangers they face.

However, the evacuation efforts drag on for months. We take advice from international security experts and pass this on to our colleagues. Politicians and government are failing them so it is civil society which has to act. Together with the activists in Kabul Luftbrücke (‘Kabul Airlift’) and their network, we finally manage to support the majority of our colleagues and their immediate family in their efforts to flee the country.

Evacuation of Afghan colleagues: New beginnings in Germany

A majority of the activists and their immediate family have now managed to reach safety. For those who have already made it to Germany, we help them with their first steps here towards a new beginning. As refugees they could only take the bare essentials with them and now have to build a new life for themselves. The priority is to find a place to live and deal with all the bureaucratic necessities, and then they need clothes, household goods and furniture.

A staff member is employed especially to support the new arrivals in Germany and take charge of setting up support and welcoming structures. medica mondiale coordinates a team of volunteers to accompany them during their first weeks, working closely with official social workers. Some of the newly arrived Afghan colleagues also join the evacuation team. Their assistance is invaluable.

Women’s rights in Afghanistan: Plans for the future

We are in close contact with our Afghan colleagues and other activists inside and outside Afghanistan who continue to work for women’s rights in their country. Together we are developing ideas for future women’s rights work in Afghanistan. The security situation prevents us from continuing with the regular projects in the country, but we are determined to continue our work. Already we have begun to help smaller projects, including a safe house where women’s rights defenders can find protection.

Soraya Sobhrang, Director of our Afghan partner organisation, remains optimistic:

“There is now a generation in the country who know about democracy and human rights. So the younger generation is our greatest hope, since the Taliban cannot take away their knowledge, skills and dreams. And this also means that the commitment to the rights of women and girls, and to a more just society, will not go away.”

For medica mondiale one thing is certain: We will continue supporting women and girls in Afghanistan. In 20 years of commitment towards women’s rights in Afghanistan there have been many achievements and we are not prepared to abandon them.

Read the full article in memo 2022/1 (german)