Letter: We Stand With Afghanistan

Afghans sit on the tarmac at Kabul airport on Monday (AFP/Getty)

by Harris Razaqi

We, the Afghan Student Association at UC Davis and its allies, express our concerns with the administration’s silence on this pressing matter that not only impacts students at UC Davis, but universities worldwide. Your support is needed now more than ever.

The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan has lasted for over 20 years and has resulted in the destabilization of Afghanistan. The irresponsible withdrawal of US and NATO soldiers has resulted in the anti-democratic government takeover by the Taliban and the loss of innocent civilian lives.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report on Monday July 26, 2021, reveals that 5,183 civilians were killed in the first half of 2021, this includes 2,392 civilians who were killed only in May and June of 2021.1 The increased loss of lives and suffering of the Afghan people are a direct consequence of a complex international and regional proxy war that was intensified by U.S. policies in the last twenty years.

After the U.S.-Taliban agreement in 2020, which further legitimized, strengthened, and supported the Taliban and Taliban-like groups in Afghanistan, the killing of innocent Afghans as well as their displacement has increasingly intensified. The U.S. war in Afghanistan has disintegrated Afghan society, leaving Afghans with no means of preparation against Taliban, who were supported and legitimized by both the Trump and Biden administrations and the U.S.-backed Afghan government subsequently failed to protect Afghans. The Pakistani government, in addition to other regional government’s support of the Taliban forces, has further empowered these militant forces. Afghan citizens are left with no choice but to flee their homes or stay and risk death at the hands of these forces.

As a community, we are outraged by the lack of institutional support and solidarity shown by the UC Davis administration in light of the Taliban takeover. As a result, we are standing up and speaking in the face of injustice to compensate for the lack of institutional support available to our communities. We have taken the responsibility, as a collective, to mobilize and speak up for the Afghan people, and spread this movement globally. Currently, 9,700 Afghans live in Sacramento County making it home to one of the largest Afghan communities in the country and 2,000 live in Yolo, Sutter, Placer, and El Dorado counties2. As of August 19th, UC Davis has yet to make any comment on the situation in Afghanistan or better yet offer institutional support to their Afghan student population, which has been a reoccurring trend towards MENASA communities. Although the administration may make a statement regarding Afghanistan soon, we hope our concerns urges UC Davis and its administration to take action when our community’s hurt, instead of turning a blind eye.

As a global leader in education, we urge the administration at UC Davis and the UC system, all of who are complicit in the systematic discrimination of MENASA students, to take actions to better support Afghan students on campus by the following:

  1. Addressing the current situation in Afghanistan and standing in solidarity with Afghan students campus and UC-wide.
  2. Academically accommodating students who may be in distress by the tragic events which have transpired in
  3. Educating faculty and students on the situation and ways to support individuals who are .
  4. Providing mental health resources and/or counselling to students that are negatively impacted by the recent events that have occurred in
  5. Addressing the unique obstacles experienced by Afghan students, while attempting to obtain an education

ASUCD Senator, Harris Razaqi is with the Afghan Student Association at UC Davis

In solidarity,

ASUCD President, Ryan Manriquez

ASUCD Internal Vice President, Juliana Martinez Hernandez ASUCD Senator, Maahum Shahab

ASUCD Senator, Rashita Chauhan ASUCD Senator, Ambar Mishra

ASUCD Senator, Sergio Bocardo-Aguilar ASUCD Senator, Kabir Sahni

ASUCD Senator, Michael Navarro ASUCD Senator, Kristin Mifsud ASUCD Senator, Owen Krauss

ASUCD Transfer Representative, Tariq Azim

ASUCD External Affairs Vice President, Shruti Adusumilli

ASUCD Office of the External Affairs Vice President Political Director, Michelle Andrews ASUCD Executive Office Chief of Staff, Sasha Lyons

ASUCD Gender and Sexuality Commission Chairperson, Ashley Chan

ASUCD Environmental Policy and Planning Commission Chairperson, Sydney Cliff ASUCD Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission Chairperson, Martin Jared Lopez ASUCD Student Health and Wellness Committee Chairperson, Sanjana Battula Muslim Student Association at UC Davis

Arab Student Union at UC Davis

Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students at UC Davis Indian Student Association at UC Davis

Hong Kong Political Affairs & Social Services Society at UC Davis Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis

The Empowerment Project

Pakistani Student Association at UC Davis Davis College Democrats

Faces of African Muslims at UC Davis UC Davis Jakara Movement

The Justice Initiative at UC Davis Jewish Voice for Peace at UC Davis Other Collective Media Platform

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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3 Comments

  1. Ron Glick

    “The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan has lasted for over 20 years and has resulted in the destabilization of Afghanistan.”

    Since at least 1980, when the Russians invaded Afghanistan, the country has been unstable.

    1. Richard_McCann

      Agreed. The Soviet invasion in 1979 triggered a rise in a strand of fundamentalist Islam that led to this outcome. The US made the same mistake as the Soviets, believing that a military solution could work. David Frum (a former Bush speechwriter) wrote this article that explains well how the US failed to extricate itself (although it has a “woulda, coulda” premise that might not have been true). https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/bin-laden-2001-end-war-afghanistan/619767/ Other articles point the futility of US actions there in the context.

      I agree with the authors that UCD should assist Afghan students in this time of crisis. The Chancellor’s statement appears to be moving that way. However, it’s not clear what the students are calling for in US foreign policy on this matter. The reality is that there is little the US can do given that a military solution is futile and the Taliban have been able to operate without connecting to the formal global economic institutions.

  2. Edgar Wai

    The timing is not clear, but UC Davis released a statement on Friday.

    https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/chancellors-statement-afghanistan-haiti-wildfires-and-covid-19

    I think ultimately the people in Afghanistan and those evacuated need to take a stance (or stances) on what they wish for Afghanistan. To me, because the Taliban qualifies as a tyranny, it qualifies to be eliminated to the last active member (until their membership becomes completely voluntary). Is that the wish?

    In the meantime please continue to help each other. This type of problem is bigger than any single group or institution can address. A clear stance is needed to align the efforts.

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