Organizations looking to save colleagues’ lives who are stuck in Afghanistan

BATON ROUGE — Over 41 Afghan prosecutors have been murdered or injured by the Taliban in Afghanistan since August 2021, and the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office is aiming to help get those in hiding to the U.S.

The U.S. Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA-US) launched the Prosecutors for Prosecutors (PFP) campaign in response to a request from the Afghanistan Prosecutors Association to help save the lives of the prosecutors still in Afghanistan.

According to the APA, before the fall of Kabul in August of 2021, there were approximately 6,000 Afghan staff members of the Afghanistan Attorney General Office supporting rule of law programs. Many were the prosecutors responsible for criminal cases against members of the Taliban for murder, terrorism, assaults, kidnapping, abductions, violence against women, and drug crimes. Most were members of the Afghanistan Prosecutors Association (APA-AF) and trained by the US and allied nations.

APA-AF, now in exile, has identified over 3,800 prosecutors and critical staff members who remain in Afghanistan. They are hiding – unemployed and facing starvation and death if found.

The press conference held Tuesday was to discuss efforts to save the lives of justice sector colleagues who remain in Afghanistan.

“These prisoners are out, armed, and looking to take revenge on people who put them there,” said David LaBahn, the president of APA. “Prosecutors are being hunted down and killed.”

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore said since the campaign began last July, PFP has been in contact with more than 600 justice sector professionals who are pleading for help. 

They are not eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to the United States because the US government did not directly employ them, and other visa programs can take years to process. Moore said they need immediate assistance and relocation out of Afghanistan to keep themselves and their families safe.

According to the APA, each $10,000 raised will save one prosecutor and their family. All of the donations go towards getting the families home. You can donate here. Moore said the Louisiana Association of District Attorneys donated $10,000 Tuesday.

“Six hundred (people) are ready to go tomorrow if we can get the U.S. government to move, or we can raise more money and use Congress to push the administration to get these folks to safety,” LaBahn said.

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