I knew how lucky I was to have other options, to be able to make the choice to leave a war without being a refugee. I had been given a Special Immigrant Visa for the U.S. and left Afghanistan in 2016, still haunted by guilt. I studied at college in Virginia. I wanted to pursue a career in education that would one day help me make more substantial changes in Afghanistan. I went on to study at Georgetown and Columbia universities and continued to tell myself that all of this was in aid of my life’s mission to work for, and with, Afghan women. But who knows when I will be able to return to Herat or Kabul now?
The reality of life in Afghanistan almost four months since the movement’s fighters took control is more complex than many reports suggest, especially those on polarized social media platforms. A mood of anxiety and uncertainty prevails, amid a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by a U.S.-led embargo that could leave millions starving this winter.