Hillary Chartered Free Flights For Afghan Women While Erik Prince Charged $6500
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos
As conditions in Afghanistan worsen daily, reports have indicated that individuals are not only eager to volunteer but are showing overwhelming support to welcome Afghan refugees. Organizations and people alike are coming together in efforts to bring Afghan asylum-seekers safely into the U.S. While some nonprofit organizations are urging people to donate miles and partnering with relocation centers to bring refugees to safety, others are advocating for donations to gather funds to fly refugees out.
But organizations aren't the only ones flying vulnerable refugees out of Afghanistan as people surround Kabul airport. After warning of the "huge consequences" of withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Hillary Clinton has reportedly been chartering flights out of Afghanistan for the country's at-risk women.
According to The New York Times, Clinton and her team have been trying to aid potential Taliban targets in leaving the country by offering seats to Afghan journalists on a flight her team arranged to help women at risk. While the journalists did not take the flight, some women and children did. The effort comes as some individuals are trying to fill the gap by donating money to charter flights as evacuation projects are becoming increasingly difficult.
"Last week, the evacuation options to get women's rights activists out came largely from an informal network of powerful, connected, some very wealthy people, some trying to literally charter private jets to evacuate women thought to be Taliban targets," Marie Clarke, the vice president of global programs at Women for Women International, told The Guardian.
Many Afghan families are struggling to find the funds necessary to fly out, so these chartered planes make a significant impact. But of course, not everyone is like Clinton—some people, like former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, are attempting to monetize the desperation of the Afghan people by offering flights for $6,500 per person instead of for free, Daily Kos reported.
Clinton's efforts to help Afghan women come as no surprise. While some may see it as her attempting to gain social clout, the reality is that not only was Clinton hush-hush about her efforts, but she has supported women's rights in Afghanistan prior to this current situation.
During a United Nations (UN) meeting last year, which was sponsored by the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan and led by the Afghanistan Mission to the UN, Clinton emphasized the role of Afghan women and the importance of "encouraging women's participation," noting that it "is not only the right thing to do; it is the strategic and necessary thing to do for peace, prosperity and security."
She continued: "It is clear that Afghan women are rightly afraid not just for their rights and the Constitution that was written to protect them, but literally afraid that the gains they have made with all of our help will be washed away in a rush to achieve a peace that will not hold anyway. This is not just morally wrong. This is dangerous."
"We must not allow a reign of terror against [Afghan] women and girls. The women of Afghanistan have come too far to be excluded from the negotiation table while their rights are being stripped away. It is also true that we cannot allow that to happen to Afghan women and girls because there is a direct correlation between what will happen in the country, in the region, and indeed the world because of that," Clinton said during her speech at the UN meeting.
According to The Independent, in addition to making efforts to rescue at-risk Afghan women, Clinton also spoke with Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, about the escalating crisis and what he can do to help.
"I also spoke last night with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton," Trudeau said on Tuesday, according to the Washington Examiner, adding that Clinton "shares our concern for Afghan women and girls" and "urged Canada to continue our work."
Clinton had warned what the humanitarian consequences of a withdrawal from Afghanistan would be following the two decades the U.S. spent in the country.
"This is what we call a wicked problem. There are consequences both foreseen and unintended of staying and of leaving," she told CNN in May. Clinton noted that the U.S. was facing "two huge consequences" of withdrawal: the threat from the Taliban and the number of refugees the situation would likely create as a result.
Of course, while we all wish we had access to chartered planes to help those in need, we don't. But there are other ways you can help bring Afghan refugees to safety. For those who are interested, you can donate flight miles and vouchers by following the steps explained here. Additionally, if you are an AirBnB host and are willing to host a refugee family, you can learn more about that process here.
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