Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan Raises Fears in Bay Area Afghan Community

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Refugees are led through the departure terminal to a bus at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 31, 2021 in Dulles, Virginia.  (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The searing images of Afghans desperate to get on to planes leaving Kabul brought the world’s attention to the crisis created in part by the American withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in August. In the four months that have passed, the Taliban have solidified their rule, the international community has responded with sanctions and asset freezes of funds, and a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions has begun unfolding. According to the United Nations, “nearly 23 million people – that is 55% of the population – are facing extreme levels of hunger and nearly 9 million of them are at risk of famine.” The Bay Area is home to one of the largest enclaves of Afghan Americans, and that community has been working tirelessly to help new arrivals and to offer assistance to a country in tatters. As the intensifying crisis nearly disappears from American media coverage, we talk to an Afghan refugee about her fraught journey to leave the country she loves and her community’s struggle to resettle, and we’ll discuss the humanitarian crisis facing those left behind.


Missy Ryan, national security correspondent, the Washington Post

Khawaga Ghani, a journalist who fled Afghanistan when the Taliban arrived in Kabul and who now lives in the Bay Area

Joseph Azam, board chair, Afghan American Foundation, a non-partisan nonprofit organization working on issues impacting the Afghan American community