Afghan students in Central Asia set their sights on the US
Shams, a 27-year-old Afghan student based in Kyrgyzstan, said that his work as a development worker got him blacklisted for refusing to pay taxes to the Taliban. “These were things that the Taliban didn’t really like, and that kind of put me in their blacklist,” said Shams, who asked not to use his last name.
In 2021, an international group of volunteers, organised in part by faculty at Bard College in New York, worked to evacuate more than 300 young Afghans to Kyrgyzstan, including Shams. The same team helped them get student visas and scholarships to continue their education. After two years of study, Shams and other students who graduated this spring again face an uncertain future. Many who cannot return to Afghanistan are now trying to make it to the United States.
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