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Maine Vets for Afghans

Maine Vets for Afghans

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In the summer of 2021 the Taliban quickly gained territory across Afghanistan. By mid-August the Afghan government fell and the Taliban entered Kabul. Thousands of Afghans who worked for the U.S. military or U.S. government agencies swarmed the Kabul airport in an attempt to fly out on U.S. military evacuation aircraft. Some of them were assisted by veterans in Maine in the evacuation process.

Almost 300 Afghans who were evacuated have resettled in Maine; and thousands more have resettled in communities across the country. The resettlement process is difficult, with many Afghans arriving with just the backpack they could carry with them as they flew out of Kabul. The evacuees face a number of challenges in Maine - to include housing, jobs, school for children, learning English, and pursuing a legal pathway to permanent residency.

However, there are thousands of at-risk Afghans who worked as interpreters, drivers, and in other functions for the U.S. military who remain in Afghanistan. The bureaucratic process for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and other classes of refugee status is slow and cumbersome. In the meantime, these at-risk Afghans face a future with no job in the midst of a failing economy and humanitarian crisis. In addition, because of their association with the United States during its 20-year long involvement in the Afghan conflict, they face persecution, imprisonment, and possibly death at the hands of the Taliban.

A group of Maine veterans are continuing the effort to assist these at-risk Afghans. This includes in the relocation process from Afghanistan to the United States and in resettlement once they have arrived in Maine.

 

 

 


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