Afghan Americans protest for refugee aid in LA


Fatima Durrani

Afghans, Afghan Americans, and allies march on Willshire Blvd in Los Angeles, Calif. demanding Congress members and President Biden to extend the evacuation of Afghans until Aug. 31st. Protestors on Aug. 28th hold a poster saying “Zindabad Afghanistan” which translates to “long live Afghanistan”.

Fatima Durrani, Staff Writer

Afghan Americans and allies marched for an open door policy for refugees to seek asylum in the U.S. on Wilshire Boulevard, in an effort to have the U.S. extend its deadline of aiding Afghans in evacuations on August 28.

After the Taliban occupation began in Kabul, Afghanistan, Afghans are experiencing violence in their homeland and terror attacks from ISIS.

The ISIS terror on Kabul airport killed 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops, leaving the Afghans in America and Afghanistan in fear.

“The Taliban are extremist and have no intention to care for Afghan lives,” Mohabat Barikzai, an organizer of the Afghan march said. “When Afghans and allies come together at these marches for a common goal, we see unity.”

Barikzai elaborated on how the worldwide protest for Afghanistan was to demand for a continuation of evacuating Afghans.

Protestors march towards US Federal Building while holding an Afghan flag to stand with Afghanistan. On Aug. 28th a protestor holds a poster saying "Taliban = padarnalat", which translates to "bastard" or "lowlife" in Farsi.
Protestors march towards US Federal Building while holding an Afghan flag to stand with Afghanistan. On Aug. 28, 2021 a protestor holds a poster saying “Taliban = padarnalat”, which translates to “bastard” or “lowlife” in Farsi. Photo credit: Courtesy of Ayesha Durrani

“I hope the Biden administration sees all the protests. Afghans need to be evacuated and we need to continue until it’s complete,” said the organizer.

She also expresses how Islam is a religion about kindness and love and that the Taliban demonstrate the opposite.

Hasina Lodin, an Afghan resident in Los Angeles, says, “Honestly there are a lot of mixed emotions on the Taliban occupation. I feel a lot more anger than sadness.”

“The most beneficial thing to do right now as an ally is to contact your local representatives,” Lodin says.

The protestor also explains how western media acknowledged the U.S. soldiers that passed away in Kabul and emphasized that only rather than the Afghans that are suffering.

She says the message they were aiming to get across to the U.S. during the march was to allow more refugees who need to evacuate safely into places like Greece, Germany and the U.S.

“The day I heard that this terror group had now taken control of the country, my soul shattered,” said Alina Khan, a student at UCLA.

Khan elaborated, “My goal of using my first amendment right to peaceably assemble and joining the conversation that is going around is of two parts; something political and something personal.”

Khan, Barikzai and Lodin said that western media is not recognizing Afghan lives lost, but is focusing on U.S. service men lost. They express how western media only shows one side of the story.

“Afghan casualties are far too many to not speak about,” Barikzai states. “We are stronger in numbers and we need to continue pressuring Congress to continue evacuating Afghans.”

Afghans encourage allies to do beneficial actions such as spreading awareness of the pain Afghans are experiencing.

The more we turn a blind eye the more Afghanistan will continue to suffer in silence,” Lodin says.

Lodin encouraged supporters to text “CRISIS” to 52886. To let their representatives know they are concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and donate to Relief for Internally Displaced Afghans or Urgent Crisis Relief for Afghanistan.

“Allies can help Afghan Americans as well as Afghan refugees that are coming to America by providing them resources to help heal themselves from the inside and out,” Khan elaborates. “I think compassion can go a long way since that seems to be lacking.”

Afghans and their allies hope to achieve relief for Afghan refugees by raising awareness, donating and protesting for a change.