As the one-year anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan has come and gone, about 100 Afghan youth remain in United States government custody without their parents—the majority of whom are placed in shelters and other congregate care settings. This number reflects both great progress in releasing hundreds of Afghan youth to sponsors over the past year and significant issues that plague the system serving unaccompanied minors.
Afghan children fled to the U.S. hoping to find security and freedom after unexpectedly having to leave their lives and families behind. But for too many of these children, one unimaginable trauma was replaced with another: After escaping the brutal Taliban regime, Afghan youth who have yet to be reunited with family have languished for months in highly regimented settings ill-suited to meet the needs of children with complex trauma.
Most children live with constant anxiety about the safety of their families in Afghanistan but face strict limits on how often they can speak with their families—often just two 10-minute phone calls per week. One 16-year-old Afghan boy said he participated in a hunger strike to secure more phone time, explaining “We were really struggling mentally with how little we were able to talk to our families. It really helps our mental health to be able to speak to our families and make sure that they are okay.”
Read more at Time.com.
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