Thousands of Afghans who worked for the US have made a perilous 16,000-mile journey to the US-Mexico border to seek asylum in the last year
Thousands of Afghans have traveled across the world to seek asylum at the US border in the last year.
Many of them worked for the US government in Afghanistan as lawyers and human rights activists, according to the NYT.
They are fleeing the Taliban, which has again rolled back human rights in Afghanistan.
It's been almost two years since the Taliban reclaimed Kabul, forcing the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Many Afghans allied with the United States are still attempting to escape.
For thousands of Afghans, that escape has led them on a daring 16,000-mile journey, which includes traversing the treacherous Darién Gap in Panama, to reach the US-Mexico border.
Taiba and her family were among them, The New York Times reported.
"They left us behind," Taiba told the Times, referring to the US government. "Sometimes I think maybe God left all Afghans behind."
Taiba's journey involves sleeping on forest floors and dodging fire ants, snakes, and thieves — forcing the family to hide their money in their food.
These desperate attempts to flee come as the Taliban reverses decades of civil progress in Afghanistan. Despite earlier claims that it would rule more progressively, the Taliban has again cracked down on women's rights, preventing them from going to school, working, or even going to the doctor without a male companion.
Economic sanctions against the Taliban have also exacerbated a failing economy, pushing record numbers of Afghans into extreme poverty. And for Afghans who worked with the United States, there is the ever-present fear of retaliation.
For many, the risky journey to escape feels like the only option.
"If 10 times I am sent back," one Afghan refugee, who is a doctor, told The New York Times. "10 times I will return."
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