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Article: NPR | The Ad Hoc Network That Helped Rescue Afghans

NPR | The Ad Hoc Network That Helped Rescue Afghans

Article Courtesy of NPR News

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On Aug. 14, a restaurant owner inside the Kabul airport terminal suddenly sold out his entire stock of food, as passengers flocked to the airport. Then he noticed the Afghan customs officers, airport police and other officials changing out of their uniforms and into civilian clothes. Some were looking frantically for seats on the last flights out.

Other changes also came swiftly. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his cabinet fled the country. The U.S. Embassy staff, already slimmed down, relocated to the military side of the Kabul airport. The civilian side and the runway fell under an avalanche of desperate people afraid of the Taliban.

Some of those people had been trying to leave Afghanistan for years. They included Afghans who worked for the U.S. military. When you added in their immediate family members, they numbered around 100,000.

Others knew they were in danger, but didn't anticipate the Taliban would take all the country's major cities in less than a month. They included human rights proponents, women activists, and minorities.

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