President Joe Biden announced in April that all U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31. Despite the Taliban’s tumultuous overthrow of the Afghan government, following the exit of U.S. troops,, the president is sticking to the self-imposed deadline. This deadline looms as the scenes out of Kabul airport are increasingly chaotic and a humanitarian crisis is unfolding as desperation mounts for Afghan civilians, many of whom worked alongside U.S. troops for the last 20 years. For so many, their time helping the U.S. makes them a target of the Taliban and they are now desperate to find safety for themselves, their families and their future.
The United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Pakistan, Germany and India are among the countries accepting refugees from Afghanistan while other countries, including Australia and Austria, have refused to take in refugees.
The U.S. is expecting thousands of refugees to arrive across the country. Many local groups in the U.S. are mounting their own efforts for refugees that are arriving in their region. But, for national efforts, here’s what you can do to help.
- The International Rescue Committee is accepting monetary donations online, and their Phoenix office is looking for volunteers to help connect refugees with apartments. Their Denver office is looking for volunteers to mentor families with their transition to the United States. To check what an office near you needs, go to their website, click “Where we work,” then “United States,” and select the local office that applies.
- Connect with your state refugee service program, if one is available, to see what help they are seeking and what organizations they are partnered with. Try searching your state in a search engine such as Google with the key words “refugee resettlement” or “refugee services” to find it.
- The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is seeking volunteers to help refugees with airport transportation, housing and meals. They are also accepting donations on their website.
- The Welcome to America Project in Phoenix is accepting monetary donations, clothes, shoes, hygiene products and are seeking volunteers to get bikes ready for incoming refugees. Visit their website or Instagram for more information.
- Human Rights First is accepting donations to help provide pro-bono legal assistance to Afghan evacuees to safely leave and protect their identities from the Taliban.
- The International Refugee Assistance Project is accepting donations to help provide legal services to incoming Afghan refugees.
- Airbnb started a project called Open Homes, where Airbnb hosts can offer free temporary housing to refugees. Learn more about the program here.
How to avoid charity scams
Avoid unfamiliar agencies and websites. There is a history of scammers creating websites that look like donation pages after a major tragedy, but in reality were a scam. Make sure that where you’re donating is a legitimate organization or a group that has a proven record of delivering aid.
Beware of phone calls and emails soliciting donations.
Do your research to determine if organizations are legitimate. Charity Navigator lists reputable organizations. Great Nonprofits and Give Well has reviews of nonprofit groups and can help you see how much of your money goes directly to relief.