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Global Tufts Community Comes to the Rescue in Afghanistan

As the Taliban overthrew the Afghan government in August 2021, a small Fletcher School team mobilized a network of Tufts alumni and faculty to help evacuate Afghan alumni and their families who faced imminent peril

After Kabul fell to the Taliban last August 15, Afghans thronged the capital’s airport, hoping to escape before the U.S. military withdrew. Many feared they were targets for reprisals by the Taliban, the militant group known for its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

In the chaos that followed, people were so desperate to make it out of the country that they rushed a U.S. Air Force plane. One man was crushed beneath its wheels and others who clung to the aircraft as it took off soon plunged to their deaths.

Although the U.S. sent 6,000 more troops to help American and NATO forces evacuate foreign citizens and some vulnerable Afghans, it stayed committed to a late August deadline for military withdrawal after nearly 20 years of war. The frenzy on the ground intensified. The airport was circled by the Taliban, and visas seemed impossible to come by.

As texts from Afghans pleading for help crossed the globe, people with ties to Tufts sprang into action to aid those whose lives were at risk.

This video recounts the story of the small group of Fletcher community members who mobilized the global Tufts community to facilitate the evacuation of alumni and their families who faced imminent peril in Kabul.

More information about how to both support Fletcher students from Afghanistan and other nations and also how to support the relocated families whose stories are shared in this video is available on The Fletcher School website.

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