Ceesay: Aiding Afghan refugees compensates for damages caused during the war


U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The August evacuations in Afghanistan came after the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban.

Hangila Ceesay, Staff Writer

Thousands of refugees arrived in the U.S. from Afghanistan after the collapse of the Afghan government at the hands of the Taliban. About 123,000 civilians fled the country with the help of U.S.-led coalition aircrafts, and about 20,000 of them are currently situated on U.S. military bases.

As more refugees immigrate to the U.S., more pushback follows. One of the main criticisms from Americans is that they believe it is not the country’s responsibility to aid the refugees. While it is not the U.S.’s responsibility to do so, it is one virtuous action the U.S. can do for Afghans because they, along with the Taliban, were participants in putting Afghans in this position during the war in Afghanistan. 

The war in Afghanistan began in October 2001 and ended last month. It began as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. that were carried out by al-Qaeda. Believing that the Taliban had involvement with the attacks, former president George W. Bush demanded that Taliban leader Mohammad Omar hand over all possible al-Qaeda members hiding within the Taliban’s territory. Omar refused, leading to a war against the Taliban that spread across Afghanistan. The war started in southern Afghanistan after the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance took over Taliban-controlled areas, including the de facto capital of the Taliban, Kandahar. As the war spread throughout the country, more innocent civilians were targeted. By the end of the conflict, a total of roughly 47,245 civilians died and at least 5.9 million were displaced. 

The U.S. seeking out al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan after 9/11 was within reason, as the country was in an extreme state of fear and distress; however, they had a role in the immense destruction that took place in Afghanistan and as a result, left civilians in complete poverty. Now that the conflict has ended and the Taliban restarted their reign of absolute terror over the country, it is also reasonable for the U.S. to open its doors to Afghan immigrants as they contributed in some ways to the lack of safety that Afghans have in their country.

Those who say the U.S. should not be concerned with providing shelter for Afghan refugees do not realize how much the U.S. contributed to the downfall of Afghanistan. This is also the U.S.’s way of repaying Afghans in some fashion for all of the devastation they caused in their country. This aid should not be viewed as the country putting other citizens before their own; not only is it crucial to show compassion to the Afghan refugees in dire situations, it is also important to acknowledge that they did not put themselves in this situation.