Photography by Seamus Murphy/ VIIPhoto
**UPDATE 27 DECEMBER**
Happy holidays and best wishes for a safe and joyful 2022. We have had a season of great highs and terrible lows.
On the positive side, hundreds of Afghans evacuated by your support have been resettling across the United States after weeks or months in camps. Many people involved have been hosting families since early November, and their relief and gratitude is overwhelming. So are the challenges they face, so we have started a drive to get some direct cash support to the families brought to safety by this campaign.
Families now here are haunted by those they left behind. Scores of Afghans remain in hiding. The teenage girls among the evacuees report that none of their female friends in Afghanistan are able to leave their homes, let alone go to school. And hunger looms over the country alongside revenge killings.
Paths out of Afghanistan have narrowed, with at most a few hundred people a week getting out. We have been unable to move another flight even though we have over 1000 at-risk Afghan allies and partners ready to depart. Two families on our manifests have had a family member killed after receiving threats.
Amid all this darkness, a wise friend reminded us that every life saved is a Universe. We carry that with us. With tremendous gratitude, we ask that you consider a donation either here (we will still fund another flight if we can and send all funds we can't use for flight efforts to the International Rescue Committee) - or to the new campaign to help those starting their new lives in America.
**UPDATE 07 OCTOBER**THANK YOU!!! The hard work and your support paid off once again overnight as exactly 320 Afghans were able to leave on a chartered aircraft to reach al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. We are grateful to all of you for the support and to the governments and many partners who made the complex logistics in Afghanistan work through sleepless nights. More to follow. Please continue to support this effort. All funds go to either logistics and transportation or relief and resettlement of Afghans at risk. To donate, click the button on this page or text AIRLIFT to 707070 (US only, msg & data rates may apply). To send your donation by ACH / wire, click here for more info.
**UPDATE 25 SEPTEMBER**
We are hopefully getting closer. Evacuations of at-risk Afghans since 30 August have been sporadic and difficult. With limited airport access, some flights are getting out of Mazar-i-Sharif, and others with foreigners and their families have been able to leave from Kabul. But it is a trickle from an ocean of need.
A few people on our manifests, including some U.S. citizens with families and some Afghans with US Special Immigrant Visas, have made it out. But over 320 are still hiding and hoping we can help.
We are not sharing specifics for their safety, but we managed to secure humanitarian asylum for this group from a friendly government and are now working to gain transit through neighboring countries even if U.S. military bases remain closed to evacuee flights (as they were in recent days).
We are spending a sustainable amount for those who most need safe houses and extra protection, about $4K per day. Others are staying safe with family and friends, but moving often to keep safe. Threats to our people have been increasing as global attention wanes.
How we leave is uncertain and will drastically impact costs. We spent $1.8 million to complete evacuations prior to 30 August. We've spent about $200K sustaining and protecting people since then. We can afford to move our group from Afghanistan to a U.S. military installation in the Middle East right now. We can almost afford to get them to a neighboring country and onward to a U.S. military installation. We are short of being able to fly them to a third country where they need to be supported on arrival. Costs are $3000 per person for the first month of quarantine, screening, vaccinations and housing (managed by IRC is some countries).
PLEASE HELP US RAISE at least $1 million more to fund this flight and sustainment for our Afghan allies. We hope to have them moving within the week. Anything not used for flights or logistics will go to IRC and (and then be doubled by their generous patron if it flows through our site!)
As many of you have seen in the updates posted below, your donations to the Afghan Airlift campaign helped get over 1300 individuals out of Kabul by air and several hundred additional at-risk people into the airport for evacuation. Since the closure of Kabul Airport, the team has focused on groups we were unable to extract and is partnering with others to get at least one more full flight out. We are also looking at overland options.
International negotiations are underway for both Mazar and Kabul airports to resume international charter flights, and we are positioned to move one more A340 should conditions permit.
We are thrilled that any funds that do not go to airlifting Afghans will go to the International Rescue Committee. IRC has been in Afghanistan since 1988 and will keep operating. They are already providing services to Afghans making the journey out of their country and at four military bases processing Afghan evacuees inside the U.S. Donations that go the IRC from our site are being matched by a generous IRC patron up to $5 million!
Getting out of Afghanistan is just the first step in a long and difficult road to a secure life for these evacuees and their families. Please share this link and continue to help if you can!
-- The Airlift Team
To donate, click the button on this page or text AIRLIFT to 707070 (US only, msg & data rates may apply). To send your donation by ACH / wire, click here for more info.
Original Fundraiser Text:
Our network of veteran Afghanistan experts are working on the ground to facilitate immediate and exfiltration of high-risk Afghan nationals, with a priority for those in immediate danger including activists, artists, translators and journalists.
We have access to an A340 aircraft in Kabul ready to extract individuals as early as this weekend as airport conditions permit. The cost to charter the aircraft is $1.7M and it can fit up to 345 people. We're asking for donations to help cover the cost.
All donations are going to Bancroft Global Development, a US nonprofit with decades of experience in conflict zones, which will charter the plane. 100% of the proceeds will go to the extraction and relief effort. The group has access to additional aircraft and will continue to coordinate flights as long as the need remains and conditions permit. If we have funds remaining after the evacuation period, they will go to aid organizations helping Afghans as they await processing or resettlement in a new country.
We will be providing updates on the effort on this page, as well.
To donate, you can visit this page or text AIRLIFT to 707070 (US only, msg & data rates may apply). To send your donation by ACH / wire, click here for more info.
Thank you to everyone for your support.
Evacuees boarding our charter flight in Afghanistan on October 7th, 2021
With the Kabul airport closed for now, other pipelines to evacuate people from Afghanistan are opening, including overland and some flights from of Mazar-i-Sharif. They are more fluid and less certain, but we’re committed to pursuing any possible route. So, we have decided to continue to work on another flight and have raised our goal to make that possible.
The situation is very complex, and there is always risk that a manifested flight can be delayed or canceled outright. We may determine a flight is too high risk based on what we hear from our partners on the ground. In order to help secure your donations as much as possible, we are pleased to confirm that donations above what we use for flights or attempted flights will go to the International Rescue Committee specifically to help at-risk Afghans still in the country and evacuees on the long road to resettlement. Even better, those donations that flow to IRC will be matched by one of IRC's generous patrons.
IRC has operated in Afghanistan since 1988. They are still providing assistance inside Afghanistan and will continue to do so under Taliban rule. And IRC already provides services at transit points around the world and on four U.S. military bases processing incoming evacuees.
Please continue to donate. We are grateful that all the funds raised through this effort are tax deductible and go directly to our non-profit partners.
Pictured here: A friend's child sleeps on a cot at Ramstein Airbase in Germany.
The crisis in Afghanistan continues to break our hearts. But we want to thank you for your overwhelming support, which has now successfully airlifted more than one thousand people out of Afghanistan.
This effort began as three friends working to raise enough money to get fifteen or twenty at-risk Afghan colleagues and their families out of Kabul by private jet. Thanks to you and our partners, it grew to an effort to raise enough money to evacuate 345 people on an A-340. Through a mixture of luck, ingenuity, experience, and hustle, that money facilitated flights for four times that number of people out of the country and to safety. Our first flight was ready to board when it was held by officials on the ground for operational reasons. The Department of Defense then moved our passengers on a military flight! This enabled our charter operator to keep the aircraft for another mission, and they ran two flights of evacuees instead of just one! Those flights were full of at-risk Afghans who were waiting in the airport.
Hundreds of people around the world came together to make our small effort and others like it possible. The US Government facilitated our efforts, especially the very high-risk process of moving from Taliban controlled streets, and through their hostile checkpoints, into the secure airport compound. We dedicated extraordinary resources to facilitate transportation and negotiate entry. Getting through this wire was a miracle when it worked, and our hearts are with those Afghans who could not make it in and must now decide whether to remain under Taliban rule or seek other ways out overland.
As of today, Hamid Karzai Kabul International Airport is closed for access by civilian organizations and military flights are completing the evacuation. The situation on the ground is frightening and uncertain, with many people desperate for assistance and hope.
Please continue to support this effort, which will also focus on supporting organizations helping with relief and resettlement. We will be sharing some stories and details of the evacuation. We hope this effort honors all Americans who served to make a brighter future in Afghanistan, including the thirteen US Marines we lost this week.
Here's a brief note from a woman whose name we are protecting for now, who we got onto a flight with her family.
She wrote this to us from Doha: "I cannot really express how thankful we are. We know how hard it was for you to make it possible, so thanks for all your help. We will remember you guys for the rest of our lives."
It's impossible to imagine what this looked like, and to imagine the task that lies ahead, but here's a photograph from one of the evacuees.