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Towards a New Medina: AUW Afghan Students Evacuated Out of Kabul in Military Planes

Posted on August 30, 2021

Written by AUW

Dear AUW Friends,

On June 30, I wrote “Perhaps no other group within our community faces as dire an existential challenge as our Afghan students and alumnae.  With NATO forces fast disappearing from Afghan land, and the Taliban having already taken over more than one hundred districts, the fear of what awaits even in Kabul has become palpable.  We have no illusions as to the convictions of and methods used by the Taliban.  Neither do our students nor alumnae.  Under these circumstances, we are preparing to not only evacuate our Afghan students but also our alumnae who may want to return to AUW for graduate-level courses and further prepare for a better day in their country.”  I am pleased to report that yesterday we succeeded in accomplishing that mission.

Our students and alumnae have been evacuated in US military planes out of Kabul.   They have now safely reached bases in the Middle East where they will be processed for their onward journeys.  An extraordinary group of people helped us pull off this miracle.  Those contributions will be appropriately acknowledged at a later date.  This ordeal succeeded only after two grueling but failed attempts with our students huddled in a convoy of seven buses for forty straight hours.  Our Afghan student leader and six others who supported her in the overall coordination and communication, showed a measure of competence, tenacity, and what Ernest Hemingway described as grace under pressure that I have not seen before, even myself as a child of a civil war of our own in Bangladesh. My deep gratitude to each of them.

The future in Afghanistan may now appear withdrawn but it cannot be relinquished.  We pledge to continue to support that vision of another Afghanistan that has eluded us till now but inshallah will one day be realized. It is because of these women, like Aisha and the others whom AUW has helped educate over the years, that that day must come and shall come.

For more information: auwafghanresponse@asian-university.org

With gratitude,

Kamal Ahmad
Founder & Trustee
Asian University for Women