As thousands of Afghan families fleeing Taliban rule seek refuge in the United States, Indiana’s Exodus Refugee Immigration, a refugee and asylee resettlement organization, is seeking donations as its staff prepares to welcome more families resettling in Indiana.
At least one family, an interpreter, his wife and child, has been resettled in Indianapolis, said Cole Varga, executive director of Exodus Refugee Immigration.
But it’s not clear yet how many more families the organization will help resettle, he said.
“We’re kind of in a waiting game right now. It depends on how processing goes and where (families) end up before we know how many are coming,” Varga said.
What’s happening in Afghanistan
On Monday, thousands of Afghans desperate to flee Afghanistan poured onto the runways at Kabul’s international airport and swarmed a departing U.S. military jet. At least seven people died in the chaos, USA Today reported.
According to a statement from the White House, 700 people were evacuated from Kabul by U.S. military troops on Monday, including 156 U.S. citizens.
Taliban fighters seized control of Afghanistan’s capital Sunday, as the Afghan government collapsed after two decades of U.S. efforts to reshape the region as part of its “war on terror,” according to reports by USA Today.
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban entered the capital city of Kabul, and American troops scrambled to evacuate thousands of U.S. diplomats and Afghans from the U.S. Embassy.
USA Today reported the Taliban, which had been on the outskirts of Kabul for hours, announced soon after it would move farther into a city gripped by panic throughout the day as helicopters raced overhead to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy.
President Joe Biden has faced criticism over his strategy for winding down the nearly 20-year-old war in Afghanistan, which started with a U.S. invasion of the Asian country after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
While in Washington on Monday, Biden said in an address to the nation that the events “sadly proved” that no amount of military force would stabilize Afghanistan.
“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war,” he said, and dying in a war, that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.
Varga said normally, some refugee families would come to the United States by way of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for Iraqi and Afghan interpreters and translators.
“They’ll be processed in their countries, all of the paperwork, and we’ll know about them while they’re still in Kabul (Afghanistan),” he said. “And then we’ll get them here a couple of months later. But there’s a time for that at this point.”
How to help refugee families in Indiana
Exodus Refugee Immigration helps secure housing for refugees, it provides culturally appropriate food, clothing, furniture, housewares and more.
“We’ll set up an apartment so like it looks like a family is living there,” Varga said. “As much stuff as we have on hand, it makes it a million times easier to pull it out of our storage here rather than make a bunch of trips to different stores around town to get everything when the time comes.”
Afghan families are not the only ones fleeing violence in their country. The Indianapolis-based organization has also been busy helping refugees and asylum-seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Haiti, Varga said.
The organization is also seeking people who can volunteer as English language tutors, Varga said. For information on how to apply to become a volunteer go to exodusrefugee.org/take-action/volunteer.
On Aug. 26, Exodus Refugee Immigr will be hosting a virtual event featuring a live auction with proceeds to benefit the organization. Register here.
IndyStar reporter Natalia Contreras can be reached at 317-518-2829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @NataliaECG.
This content was originally published here.