After nearly 20 years of war in Afghanistan and a U.S. military withdrawal, the ground situation in Afghanistan has become increasingly uncertain and unstable for civilians as the government collapsed at the feet of the Taliban insurgents.
Throughout the war, Afghan nationals risked their lives and those of their families to provide translation, interpretation, security, and other vital services to U.S. troops, diplomats, and government humanitarian personnel. For their service many were eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV). Around 20,000 Afghans are currently in the pipeline waiting for SIVs and are in fear for their lives. Even before Kabul fell to the Taliban, evacuations were difficult given the volatile conditions on the ground. Securing the safe departure of those seeking to flee Afghanistan is nothing if not a harrowing race against time.
What is the fate of those who have worked to promote human rights, democracy, women’s rights, and education or the academics, writers, journalists, and those who have worked for foreign countries, among other at-risk categories? What is the outlook for ethnic minorities and Shia Muslims, such as the Hazaras? What will education and civil society look like under a Taliban rule? Will the Taliban stand by their gentler rhetoric around women’s rights? What responsibility does the U.S. bear for the lives of thousands of Afghans who risked safety in the cause of democracy and human rights?
Join WorldOregon and Global Minnesota as they invite Mark Ward (a 30+-year diplomatic veteran with a long service in the region) and educator Zaher Wahab (of Lewis & Clark College and the American University of Afghanistan) to explore these and other issues around the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan.
Biography's of Speakers
Mark Ward is a retired career diplomat who recently left Afghanistan where he was country director for the International Medical Corps for two years after leaving the State Department. Ward is now living in Corvallis. He was also previously Country Director for the International Medical Corps in Afghanistan, ran the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID, and was Special Advisor on Development to the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
Zaher Wahab taught for many years at Lewis & Clark College and more recently was living in Kabul and teaching at American University of Afghanistan. He served as a senior advisor to the Minister of Higher Education in Afghanistan for five years from 2002-2007 He served as a senior advisor to the Minister of Higher Education in Afghanistan for five years from 2002-2007, and was instrumental in designing and teaching in the only Masters Degree program for teacher education faculty throughout Afghanistan. He last spoke for WorldOregon in 2017.
Copresented with Global Minnesota