It is with deep sadness, frustration, confusion, and even anger that our community watches the Taliban advancement unfolding in Afghanistan right now. Our hearts break for our entire military community, and especially our allies in Afghanistan.
In the not-so-distant future, there will be time to scrutinize and agonize over the policy decisions that lead us to today. And when that time comes, SFI will be at the front of the line to center military family voices in those conversations. But for right now, what’s most important is to look after the immediate needs of our Afghan allies fleeing their country, and the members of our military community who are hurting most.
If you or someone you know has deployed to Afghanistan, please keep checking your email and social media accounts. We’ve heard many reports of Afghan allies currently trying to evacuate who require employment verification from their American service member colleagues but aren’t hearing back. Please do what you can to stay online and respond in a timely fashion.
Additionally, there are nonprofits offering opportunities for American families to support Afghan refugees, either financially or physically. For example, you can contact your local refugee resettlement agency if you have money or a spare bedroom you want to give. Consider lending support if you can. If you encounter any additional resources, don’t hesitate to pass them by us so we can help screen them for credibility and help amplify.
We will continue to monitor developments and communicate additional opportunities for SFI members to support Afghans seeking evacuation.
Turning toward our U.S. military community — so many of us have sacrificed so much over the last 20 years, and we’re all reacting to this news differently. Some of us are tracking every Afghanistan-related headline as they come in (and if that’s you, SFI will continue to serve as a reliable source of updates and action items). Others of us have had to take a break from the news, and that’s ok, too. Please know that no matter where you are on this wide emotional spectrum right now, that your feelings are valid.
To service members, current and former: thank you. For answering your country’s call to service, and for putting the needs of others halfway across the world before your own wellbeing. We can never know exactly what you’ve been through, but we’re ready and eager to listen. Please let us know how we can support you.
To the partners, parents, siblings, kids, and other loved ones of our military members: you, too, have given so much to this cause. While most of us may not have deployed to the front lines, we have served in our own profound ways on the homefront. Do not undercount those sacrifices. Secondary trauma is real, as are the myriad of mental, emotional, social, and economic scars many of us carry. We are here to support you, always.
If you are feeling distressed, you can contact Military One Source for access to confidential non-medical counseling (online or by phone at 1-800-342-9647), the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Helpline (1-800-959-TAPS (8277)), or the Veteran Crisis Line (online or by phone at 1-800-273-8255).