Saturday, November 26, 2022

Afghan students fear for their future with US-linked education

Last August, when US troops left Afghanistan, hundreds of Afghans were attending US-funded colleges. The goal was to help Afghan students obtain a high quality education in Afghanistan or any other country such as Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon and Morocco. Most of the female students receiving US-supported college education were women.

Then the Taliban took control, and the students are now scrambling to figure out what to do next.

Some students came out. Some are still living in Afghanistan, where they fear their US education will put them at risk. Others are attending college in other countries but are unsure of where they will go when they graduate.

The situation is particularly dire for hundreds of students at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), who are left behind. His relations with the United States have put him in grave danger, and his education is also being disrupted. They feel abandoned and intimidated. Despite the university’s promises, students said they felt school authorities had done little to help them.

“Who will be accountable if more of us are killed by the Taliban?” Saeed said, a student who lives in Kabul and who asked to use a pseudonym Due to security concerns. “It’s a matter of life and death.”

AUAF was founded in 2006 as the country’s first private institution, educating Afghans with high-quality, American-style liberal arts education, and is funded by the United States.

It became a target of the Taliban. In August 2016, Taliban militants stormed the compoundAt least 13 students and staff members were killed and 30 others were injured. In the same year, there was an American professor and an Australian professor at the university. Kidnapped and kept in custody for three years,

Taliban militants occupied the compound after capturing Kabul last August. one of Taliban terrorists involved posted on your facebook that its students were wolves in sheep’s clothing trained by the United States to corrupt Muslims.

Saeed then wanted to leave Afghanistan. He was among about 600 AUAF students, staff and families to be taken out of the country that month. But evacuation was interrupted, and their buses were sent back after walking around town and waiting to reach the airport gates.

Saeed said he received an email from university officials later that day saying “there will be no more rescue flights,” with no way out of the country.

A month later, Saeed said university officials told him he could go to study in Qatar, where the AUAF is in the process of setting up a satellite campus.

Sayeed was hopeful, but so far nothing has happened. He added that the students have also been told that they do not have enough money to transfer, and instead they are taking online classes.

As of November some 370 AUAF students were still in Afghanistan, Nation World News told at that time,

“The AUAF president had promised us that 100 students would be shifted by the end of October, but it did not happen,” Saeed said. “We were again assured that 100 students would be transferred by the end of November and another 100 in 2022. None of these promises have been fulfilled.”

AUAF President Ian Bickford did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on the matter.

Prior to the Taliban takeover, some AUAF students had received fully funded scholarships from the US State Department, while others were self-funded or received some financial aid. After the takeover, the school waived off tuition for all students, including Sayeed.

A department spokesman told HuffPost that the State Department plans to relocate scholars to Qatar’s Education City as soon as possible.Has been in regular communication with administrators of the American University of Afghanistan regarding efforts to relocate remaining students and staff, including non-scholarship students, to AfghanistanHowever, the department did not share the details of these efforts due to security and operational reasons.

Us Air Force Loadmasters And Pilots Assigned To The 816Th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron Load Passengers Aboard A Us Air Force C-17 Globemaster Iii In Support Of Afghanistan Evacuation At Hamid Karzai International Airport On August 24, 2021 In Kabul, Afghanistan.
US Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron load passengers aboard a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in support of Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 24, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Master Sergeant Donald R. Allen / US Air Force Europe-Africa via Getty Images

After the chaotic US airlift last August, relocation operations continued through early December 2021 but hThe lack of agreement between the US government and the Taliban has since stalled for several months, leaving behind thousands of Afghans fearing Taliban retaliation.

Around 450 AUAF students had made it out of Afghanistan by November and spread across the world, bickford told Nation World News at that time. Only 50 of those students have emigrated to the United States, and some of them are enrolled at Bard College, a private liberal arts college in New York.

About 100 students now attend the American University of Iraq, Soleimani, while about 100 others attend the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Still others have made their way into countries such as Pakistan and Turkey, but are waiting for an opportunity to relocate elsewhere.

Even Afghan students already schooling abroad face a murky future.

More than 330 Afghan students are studying on full scholarships funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asia Affairs and the US Embassy in Kabul. A department spokesperson told HuffPost that about 90% of the State Department’s Afghan undergraduate scholarships are awarded to female students.

In addition to AUAF, a considerable number of these Afghan scholarship recipients go to universities in Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and Lebanon. About 100 other students have recently relocated to Iraq.

Hazara Rahimi, Who Is Majoring In Political Science At The American University Of Beirut (Pictured Above), Hopes To Eventually Be Reunited With Her Family.  They Said,
Hazara Rahimi, who is majoring in political science at the American University of Beirut (pictured above), hopes to eventually be reunited with her family. “I will never lose faith that things will change in Afghanistan and we will be able to come back someday,” she said.

Joel Carillet via Getty Images

Hassan, who is being referred to using a pseudonym due to security concerns, was one of the lucky AUAF students who made it out of Afghanistan in October 2021. While he is grateful for the opportunity to complete his education as a law major, he is worried about returning home after graduation.

“We have been branded as infidels and pawns of the West,” Hassan said, “my law degree would be rendered useless under the Taliban’s Sharia-based legal system, and I see no future for my career in Afghanistan.”

Nilufar Payanda is an Afghan senior majoring in Human RightsTS at American University of Central Asia in Bishkek. In June, he was given the h. will getEr Diploma. Payanda said she wanted to return to Afghanistan and work in her chosen field, but the Taliban takeover shattered those hopes.

“I decided to study human rights because I was passionate about the subject and wanted to work for one of the UN agencies in Afghanistan,” she said.

Now, she’s stuck in a bind: What will happen in three months, and where should she go? Returning home is no question, but living in Bishkek has its own set of constraints. After he graduates, his visa will expire and his stipend will be deducted.

Payanda said his scholarship coordinator advised him to consider applying for a master’s program in the United States or elsewhere, but this is not a viable option for him at this time due to time and financial constraints. She is looking at the possibility of getting a scholarship for master’s degree in the same university. If this happens, her stay in Bishkek will be extended for another two years, giving her enough time to plan for her future.

“I wish I wasn’t a senior student so that after I graduate I have more time to decide my fate.” Payanda said.

One option for students is to resettle as refugees in the United States. Those who have received a scholarship from the US Embassy in Kabul may also be eligible for a priority refugee referral. A State Department spokesperson told HuffPost that several students have already been sent to rehab american refugee admissions program,

But the process is lengthy and does not guarantee rehabilitation in the United States. This may take 12 to 18 months, which is not practical for Nilufar and Hassan, who are about to graduate.

“Given the exceptional circumstances, we are exploring options to support these students who will graduate,” a State Department spokesperson told HuffPost. “We are working with our partner university partners to encourage undergraduate Afghan students to apply for graduate study programs abroad, including in the United States.”

While the non-senior students have more time to figure out the way forward, it has not been easy for them either. Hazara Rahimi, a graduate of political science at the American University of Beirut, feels disoriented and frustrated at times when she thinks about her future.

Rahimi said that many students have changed their studies from politics to psychology or business because they know they will not be able to return to their homeland – and even if they do, they will have no place in Afghan politics. She was one of the few students who did not change her field of study.

“I still love my prime,” she said.

Her parents call repeatedly that there is no news about her fate after completing her studies, but she still has no answer. While they remember her, they advise her not to return because the condition of the young women has worsened under the Taliban.

While Hajar’s future is unknown, she wishes to return home and be at peace with her family again.

“I will never lose faith that things will change in Afghanistan and we will be able to come back someday,” she said.

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