On 15 August 2021, Afghanistan was thrown into a state of shock and the nation plunged into chaos. The withdrawal of support from the United States and its Alliance led to the sudden collapse of the Afghan government after two decades of rebuilding.
I served in Afghanistan’s health sector for around 15 years in different capacities, covering health and nutrition programmes for women and children. When the Taliban took power overnight, everything changed so drastically. The takeover put many at risk of death, captivity or torture, especially those who had worked with the US and its allies. A massive airlifting operation was launched from Kabul airport. The evacuation process continues slowly and has resulted in an extensive brain drain, including of healthcare workers.
Like many other professionals, I was compelled to leave. It was not an easy or safe departure, but I made the decision first to save my life and then safeguard my education rights as a female scholar, so I could continue helping my people from a distance until I can return in person.
There cannot be any complacency as to the need for global action.
With your help, we can plug critical gaps in the understanding of COVID-19. This will support global response efforts and help to save lives around the world.