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


The sudden downfall of the Afghan government led people to frantically try to speed up online rescue and evacuation efforts. These attempts, mainly organized through Google Forms, WhatsApp, and private social media groups, are trying to fill the void left by the US government’s failure to protect vulnerable Afghans. For many people trying to escape the country, this may be the only lifeline-but at the same time, it is 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 residents of Kabul were either waiting in fear to see what the takeover would mean for them, or trying to escape the chaotic scenes of the city’s airport (the only evacuation point in Afghanistan), a crazy volunteer effort was underway to help. There may be many people.

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. It is mainly online work. A network of informal people including journalists, non-profit organizations, universities, and sometimes even government officials working outside official policies is organizing a list of Afghans who are eligible for different resettlement plans, and even trying to bypass Too slow-completely move bureaucratic procedures.

“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 to 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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