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Operation Recovery's Story

After 20 years, America’s war in Afghanistan officially ended on August 31, 2021. Countless American citizens and Afghan allies were tragically left behind, facing grave danger. Veterans quickly banded together on an unprecedented scale to honor our nation’s promises of freedom and safe resettlement. Over the course of the first few weeks, Operation Recovery volunteers shepherded men, women, and children to safety on a 21st century underground railroad. Instead of lamp signals, this journey relied on mobile phones. Families were guided into Kabul’s airport (HKIA) — later, to safehousing where they could shelter. Operation Recovery facilitated an additional 9 private charter flights. Our mission is ongoing; natural disasters, conflict, and humanitarian crisis threaten the well-being of American citizens and American allies around the world . 

Timeline of Events in Afghanistan Since Taliban Takeover

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August 2021

The Taliban takeover sparks the freezing of Afghanistan’s $8 billion in assets held abroad, most in the U.S. Also halted are billions in development and other aid that paid most of the government’s budget. Almost overnight, the already tenuous economy collapses. Many Afghans lose their salaries or jobs as prices spiral. Over the next months, millions will become unable to afford food; many medical facilities will shut down, unable to afford supplies or pay staff.

September 2021

Schools reopen around Afghanistan. Girls up through the sixth grade are allowed to return to classes, as are women in some private universities. Above sixth grade, however, girls are not allowed back, with a few local exceptions.

Sept. 7, 2021

The Taliban announce the formation of an interim government, made up entirely of Taliban figures and men, despite international pressure for greater diversity. The Taliban hint it could be widened later to include other factions, but it has remained largely the same since.

Sept. 12, 2021

Aid flights resume into Kabul as the U.N. revs up what will become a massive aid effort to keep Afghans alive in an accelerating humanitarian disaster. In less than a month since the Taliban takeover, the number of families reporting insufficient food consumption leaps 13 percentage points to 93% of the population, according to U.N. figures. World Food Program chief David Beasley warns that 14 million face acute food insecurity, “marching to the brink of starvation, they don’t know where their next meal is.”

Feb. 11, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden issues an executive order holding half of the $7 billion in Afghan assets frozen into the United States for court cases involving victims of the 9/11 attacks. He orders the other $3.5 billion to be used for the benefit of Afghanistan; since then U.S. officials have been holding talks with the Taliban on how to use that money.

March 23, 2022

On the day high schools are opening, the Taliban suddenly reverse a promise to allow girls above the sixth grade to attend schools. Girls who showed up for the first day of classes are told to go home. The reversal suggests hardliners among the Taliban leadership moved to prevent a return of older girls to school.

March 30, 2022

The number of Afghans living below the poverty line is rapidly approaching 97% of the population, the head of the United Nations Development Program Achim Steiner warns. In 2020, just under half of Afghanistan’s population lived in poverty.

May 7, 2022

The Taliban Virtue and Vice Ministry issues orders that all women in public must wear all-encompassing robes and cover their face except for their eyes. It advises them to stay home unless they have important work outside the house.

May 9, 2022

New U.N. report shows huge infusion of aid is just barely keeping numbers of hungry from growing further, with the number of people facing acute food insecurity at nearly 20 million. However, it warns that continued bad harvest and drought, inflation fueled in part by Ukraine conflict and lack of funding for U.N. aid threatens to increase the crisis.

June 22, 2022

A powerful earthquake hits a remote region of eastern Afghanistan, killing more than 1,100 people. The Taliban struggle with rescue efforts, underscoring a lack of resources and a reliance on aid groups.

July 27, 2022

Amnesty International issues a report saying Taliban policies are “suffocating” women at every level of their lives, pointing to the restrictions on schooling and work, increased child marriage and repression of women activists.

July 31, 2022

The U.S. kills al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike on a safehouse in Kabul where he has been staying for months. U.S. officials accuse the Taliban of sheltering him in violation of the Doha Agreement.

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