Women protesting the killing of three female Afghan aid workers in 2005. Photograph by Stephanie Sinclair.
Harrowing reports are coming out of Afghanistan, detailing targeted violence against women and girls, including kidnappings, beatings, and forced “marriages” of prepubescent girls to Taliban fighters.
Each day that passes means an increased risk of violence, persecution, and death for Afghan civilians—especially for those who have courageously worked to speak out and advance the rights of women and girls (many of whom have bravely participated in TYTW’s advocacy work).
Since August 2021, TYTW has engaged in an emergency initiative to arrange the safe evacuation, and other emergency services, for approximately 500 high-risk female Afghan activists, journalists, and their families. High-risk Afghans supported by TYTW include girls at risk of child marriage, women’s rights activists, journalists, translators, television reporters, humanitarian aid workers, prosecutors, and other high-profile women trailblazers.
Noor Nisa, about 18, was pregnant; her water had just broken. Her husband, whose first wife had died during childbirth, was determined to get Noor Nisa to the hospital in Faizabad, a four-hour drive from their village in Badakhshan Province. Photograph by Lynsey Addario.
TYTW’s Afghanistan Emergency Initiative is providing the following for Afghan families seeking asylum: facilitation of visas, air and ground travel, security assistance, securing letters and required documentation for individuals at risk, safe housing for those at highest risk, case management and referrals, medical services and support with basic necessities such as food.
TYTW is helping to ensure that the women and families travel safely by working with vetted organizations providing security assistance to civilians. We are advised by private security firms, multiple US military and intelligence experts and seasoned conflict journalists. To date, we have facilitated and played a vital role in several hundred extraction operations, succeeding in the safe passage and evacuation of 345 high-risk Afghans.
TYTW is also making emergency grants to local, vetted Afghan organizations aiding women and girls. We made our first emergency grant to the Afghan Women Network (AWN) to help support safe houses that are protecting women targeted by the Taliban. AWN has more than 3500 individual members and 125 women’s organizations in its membership. Monetary support for AWN was personally recommended to TYTW by Ambassador Melanne Verveer, who previously served as the first U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues (appointed by President Obama in 2009) and currently serves as Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.
TYTW also has made a grant to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), a legendary political/social organization of Afghan women working toward freedom, democracy, and women’s rights since 1977. They are working with Afghan refugees on the Pakistan border and funds will cover urgent food, clean water, blankets as it gets chillier, children’s supplies (diapers and formula), hygiene and cleaning products.
Members of Kabul University's class of 2010. The women pictured are graduates of the department of language and literature. This graduation was held under tight security at a hotel in Kabul because of an upsurge in terrorist attacks. Photograph by Lynsey Addario.