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Central Asia Institute remains resolute in aiding Afghan people

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Posted at 4:19 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 18:41:09-04

BOZEMAN — The Taliban have seized control of Kabul, Afghanistan, sending thousands of Afghans into displacement and fear.

The Central Asia Institute (CAI) in Bozeman remains resolute in its efforts in the education, and now survival, of the people of Afghanistan.

Alice Thomas, Executive Director of the Central Asia Institute, shares the sorrow felt throughout the office following the news of the Taliban take over.

“People are really terrified. No one knows what’s coming next, and the people that have the most to lose are women and girls. There’s a whole generation of educated Afghans who just can’t imagine going back to the dark ages,” Thomas said.

Following the departure of the American military, the Taliban seized control of the presidential palace and the city of Kabul.

“It has only been a matter of 48 hours since the Taliban has been in Kabul…there are still thousands of people displaced, living on the streets, many living with family and friends. Right now, people don’t have anywhere to go,” Thomas said.

CAI continues its education efforts but is pivoting to offering humanitarian and survival aids to its local partners. The Taliban have promised that young girls will be allowed an education, but what that education is and if they can be trusted remains unknown, Thomas said.

An anonymous Afghan woman said, “Right now, I’m not interested in teaching the alphabet, I want them to live. I’m so hopeful that the people we helped become literate, they will be able to do something for themselves. Right now, there is no water, no electricity. The Taliban will stop the internet. They’re listening to every phone call. I just hope the education we gave them will serve them.”

Thomas and her staff have received an outpouring of concern from the community, and she acknowledges what people can do to aid those in Afghanistan.

“If we’re concerned, we need to be sure to follow the news, sharing what’s happening with friends and family. You also can reach out to your representative in Congress. There’s a lot of people in Congress that are very unhappy with the way that things have developed,” Thomas said.

CAI is happy to field questions and concerns the public may have regarding the unfolding events in Afghanistan.