Opinion: Afghanistan’s American University in exile

Then, on August 24, 2016, Taliban gunmen stalked the campus killing anybody who moved. One of them shot Musazai in the leg. She pretended to be useless and the gunman shot her once more to complete her off. A bullet struck her in the foot. For the subsequent six hours, because the terrorists rampaged on the campus Musazai lay immobile in a hallway.

The Taliban killed a complete of 15 college students and employees that day. The college was a outstanding image of the American presence in Afghanistan, which made it an interesting goal for the Taliban. For college students, significantly girls like Musazai, the college represented the trendy world of Enlightenment values to which the Taliban have lengthy stood in staunch opposition.

Five years after their assault on the American University of Afghanistan, the Taliban took over the entire nation.

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Much of the world might have assumed that the evacuation of at-risk Afghans following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August is over. But for a lot of Afghans the story is ongoing. Of the 4,000 college students, alumni and employees of the American University of Afghanistan, solely round 600 are actually estimated to have departed Afghanistan, the college’s President, Ian Bickford, advised me.

(Disclosure: In May, I took half in a planning assembly with college leaders in which they mentioned what to do if the Taliban did take over).

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Musazai’s journey

Breshna Musazai was one of many fortunate ones who survived the Taliban assault on her college in 2016, however she was grievously wounded and spent 4 months in a hospital in Kabul. She was then flown to Dallas, Texas, the place she spent over six months on the First Baptist Medical Center. Doctors carried out surgical procedure on her leg, which saved it.
In the summer season of 2017, Musazai, now utilizing a wheelchair, returned to Kabul to finish her research on the American University of Afghanistan. The following 12 months at her commencement ceremony the viewers stood up and applauded when 28-year-old Musazai accepted her diploma.
Musazai advised me that in the course of the years that adopted, like most of the college students, employees and alumni of her college, she was frightened by the navy advances that the Taliban have been making in Afghanistan, particularly after US President Joe Biden introduced in April that the whole withdrawal of US troops from the nation can be accomplished by the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terror assaults.
Breshna Musazai
In the months following Biden’s announcement, most US troops pulled out of Afghanistan as did hundreds of allied NATO troops and greater than 15,000 contractors, which precipitated the collapse of the Afghan navy and authorities.

On August 15, because the militants rolled into Kabul, a member of the family advised Musazai “The Taliban are here.” Musazai was in shock.

Someone from the American University of Afghanistan texted Musazai and advised her that she and her brother might get on a flight in another country. On August 17, Musazai went to Kabul airport the place many hundreds of determined Afghans have been jammed up towards the partitions and gates of the airport making an attempt to get out.

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The Taliban have been firing weapons in the air to attempt to management the crowds. Musazai was frightened; she had discovered the sound of gunfire particularly terrifying ever because the assault on the college.

Musazai’s brother helped her together with her luggage and wheelchair and so they obtained on a flight that took them to Doha, the capital of Qatar. There they settled in a gated group of homes that the Qatari authorities had constructed to deal with gamers taking part in in the soccer World Cup, which is able to happen subsequent 12 months in Qatar.

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The lucky few

Also staying on the housing advanced have been seven Afghan feminine enterprise college students from the American University of Afghanistan. Unlike Musazai, their names haven’t been made public, so we’re not figuring out them.

The college students needed to make snap selections to depart their households behind and make the tough selection to depart Afghanistan rapidly.

Their households urged them to proceed their research even when it meant leaving their nation endlessly.

The college students advised me that they have been unable to get via the bedlam on the airport gate by themselves. The college advised them to contact Qatari diplomats positioned in the upscale Serena Hotel in Kabul who would assist them navigate their strategy to the airport.

The college students gathered on the lodge, and have been escorted to the airport by Qatari authorities officers, who preserve cordial relations with the Taliban.

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On August 19 they arrived in Doha the place they joined an exodus of their fellow college students. As of this month, round 450 present college students have left Afghanistan, whereas 375 stay there, says Bickford, the American University of Afghanistan’s president.

The college students who made it out of Afghanistan are actually dispersed all over the world the place they proceed to be taught in online courses. One hundred and 9 of the scholars attend the American University of Iraq in Sulimaniya, whereas 106 are on the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and others are in international locations equivalent to Pakistan and Turkey.

Qatar will home 100 college students at Doha’s Education City the place American universities equivalent to Georgetown and Northwestern preserve satellite tv for pc campuses.

Only 50 of the American University of Afghanistan’s college students have made it to the United States the place they’re housed in navy bases whereas they’re getting settled.

The seven feminine enterprise college students who made it to Doha are actually residing on the navy base at Fort Dix, New Jersey. From there they’ll go on to attend Bard, a small, extremely regarded liberal arts school in upstate New York.

Musazai stays in Doha. The accidents attributable to the Taliban have sophisticated her capacity to journey. Much of her fast household did get to the United States and they’re now residing at a navy base in the Midwest.

Musazai hopes to proceed her research in the United States in a grasp’s program on human rights legislation. It’s a profession path that will not going be accessible to her in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

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