Afghans are being evacuated through WhatsApp, Google Forms or any possible means

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The sudden downfall of the Afghan government led people to frantically try to speed up online rescue and evacuation efforts. These attempts were mainly organized through Google Forms, WhatsApp and private social media groups to try to fill the void left by the US government’s failure to protect vulnerable Afghans. For many people trying to flee the country, these efforts may be the only lifeline-but at the same time, they are not without risks, because observers worry that the Taliban may use crowdsourced information to identify people in need.

The war in Afghanistan lasted for 20 years and claimed the lives of at least 174,000 people, but the fall of Kabul occurred over a weekend. As the Taliban approached, former President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Saturday, August 14. By Sunday, the Taliban had entered the Presidential Palace of Afghanistan.

But when the residents of Kabul either wait in fear to see what the takeover means to them, or try to escape the chaotic scene of the city’s airport-Afghanistan’s only evacuation point-a crazy volunteer effort is underway To help as many people as possible.

Bypass bureaucracy

The Afghans and their allies have been organizing for several weeks, but as the last major city was captured by the Taliban within a week, and often without resistance, these efforts became a new urgency. Non-official networks that occur mainly inside and outside the country—including journalists, non-profit organizations, universities, and sometimes government officials who work outside of official policies—are organizing lists of Afghans who are eligible for different resettlement programs, and even Attempt to circumvent the completely slow bureaucratic process.

“Real-time messaging platforms are used to make quick decisions. It signals the intensity of crisis and despair.”

Mark Latonero, Harvard Kennedy School

Several groups plan to charter flights for private airlift. Some plan to crowdsource information about road conditions and identify and help Afghans trapped in various provinces to go to Kabul. At the same time, others focus on more specific target groups, such as journalists, female leaders, and Afghans who have participated in specific projects.

“If you have someone in Kabul who can arrive at the airport this weekend, please enter the information here to share with Air Evac and the State Council,” reads at the top of a Google sheet created by the League of Nations.Security related organizations hope Evacuate Afghans who already hold passports.



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