Afghans organise demonstrations in Washington
Over the weekend, as Afghanistan quickly fell to the Taliban following the end of the US withdrawal, Afghans organised demonstrations in Washington, DC, where they held up signs demanding the evacuation of stranded Afghans, sanctions on Pakistan and an end to the escalating violence.
Among the biggest demonstrations was by the White House all day on Sunday with a total attendance of around 4,000 of different ages, with young children holding signs reading “Will I ever be able to visit?”.
They arrived throughout the day, many of them having just gotten word of the gatherings, as the situation in Afghanistan was changing quickly. Some came from as far away as Texas and California, where like Washington there are large Afghan communities.
Sona Samadyar, who stood in front of the White House carrying a large Afghan flag on Sunday, has lived in the US for nearly 20 years and is worried about the fate of her homeland, where she still has siblings who have been forced to stay home over the past several days without going to the store for food amid escalating violence.
Though she does not have children of her own, Samadyar says she feels the loss of the children of Afghanistan right now.
“I feel the pain of a mother suffering. I don’t know how to ask for help,” she told The New Arab.
Samadyar, originally from Kabul, was last there in May to see family. She said the situation had improved considerably, and she was feeling hope for the future. She was able to go out and visit shops without wearing a burqa. Moreover, her nieces and nephews were pursuing their educations and careers.
“The young generation was getting educated. It was really good and safe. I was happy to see my people happy,” she said.
Like many others, her family has felt the impact of the Taliban over the years. She says they killed her brother-in-law for being a member of the Afghan Army, and they beat up her nephew for wearing Western-style clothes. In her latest communication with her family in Kabul, they were at the airport trying to flee the country.
The demonstrations have popped up quickly as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates. Another woman, waving the Afghanistan striped flag of black, red and green, said she had sewn it that morning.
Another major demonstration took place on Saturday in front of the Pakistani embassy, as Pakistan is seen as seen as an enabler of the Taliban due to its leader’s tacit support of the group. More demonstrations are planned, including another one outside the White House on August 28.