Photos: In Seattle, a rally to stand in solidarity with Afghans
About 100 people attended a rally and march to stand in solidarity with Afghans on Saturday at Westlake Park in Seattle.
"I can't even comprehend how royally we have messed up," said Aneelah Afzali, executive director of the American Muslim empowerment network at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, speaking to the crowd. "It's a colossal failure."
"The people of Afghanistan have already suffered and endured so much," Afzali said. "These are people who risked their own safety, well-being and even lives to save U.S. troops. And now we are abandoning and betraying them in the worst possible way."
Saturday's event was organized by Afghans of Seattle, a new organization composed of young Afghan-Americans in the greater Seattle area, to condemn the killing of innocent Afghan people and respond to the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan, amid the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops.
"The very least that we can do is welcome with open arms the Afghan refugees who are coming here to our country," Afzali said. "The tiny portion, the lucky few, who made it here after enduring so much. This is our responsibility."
Many speakers addressed the closing window of opportunity for those desperate to escape Afghanistan and implored rally attendees to do whatever they could to help.
"What is happening in Afghanistan is devastating," said Shugla Kakar with Afghans of Seattle. "We're trying to amplify Afghan voices and experiences, and push for urgent action by our federal, state and local leaders to help evacuate those at grave risk in Afghanistan while also supporting the incoming Afghan refugees in our state."