by Hailey Terracino
The SGA released the following statement on the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan:
Dear Bergen Community College Students,
The Student Government Association would like to take a moment to discuss the recent events in Afghanistan. The removal of American troops ends our nation’s longest war in our 245-year history. Our troops were deployed to Afghanistan twenty years ago in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks orchestrated by al-Qaeda, a terrorist organization located in the mountains of Afghanistan. Former President George W. Bush vowed to “win the war against terrorism” and called on the Taliban, another terrorist group which provided al-Qaeda sanctuary for their operations, to hand over the al-Qaeda leaders.
On December 09, 2001 the Taliban collapsed, leaving the city of Kandahar under tribal law administered by Pashtun leaders and al-Qaeda still active in the mountains. Former President George W. Bush announced the reconstruction of Afghanistan on April 17, 2002 to help bring peace for the Afghani people under the terrorist regime. May 01, 2011 marked Osama Bin Laden’s death in Pakistan by U.S. forces. For the last ten years, Americans have hoped and waited to have our troops brought home. The US did not anticipate it taking this long to bring those responsible for the 9/11 attacks to justice. Unfortunately, in that time Taliban forces regained control of a significant portion of the country.
Over the last two decades, the troops remained present there to fix the humanitarian crisis the U.S. unfortunately created in the process. President Joe Biden announced our anti-terrorist mission and humanitarian reformation was complete. Biden also released a plan for the complete withdrawal of troops by September 11, 2021. However, the capital city of Kabul was overrun on August 15, 2021, and the Taliban met very little resistance as President Ghani quickly fled the country. Now, the world rushes to rescue those threatened by the regime including American citizens, interpreters, journalists, armed forces, etc. Additionally, thousands of Afghani people, particularly women and children, are fleeing in a mass exodus in a desperate fight for their lives and freedom. It is a heartbreaking tragedy to watch unfold for countless reasons, despite political opinions.
First, the SGA will not tolerate hate of any kind towards people of Afghani heritage. This includes, but is not limited to, Islamophobia. The Afghani community are an integral part of our nation and the community within Bergen Community College.
Second of all, we urge the student body to educate themselves on this enormous issue. Many students were either too young to remember or born after the September 11th attacks. The SGA Diversity Committee works on initiatives and projects to promote diversity, inclusion, and representation within Bergen Community College. If you are interested in having a first-hand impact within SGA, please consider joining the Diversity Committee by emailing email@example.com.
Lastly, we must support each other by honoring the sacrifices made by all of our troops. This includes both our active-duty personnel and veterans, whether or not they served overseas. We invite the entirety of Bergen Community College to join for the college’s twenty-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. More details to follow pending the event’s finalization. Please check your Bergen email regularly for updates.
Bergen Community College continues to uphold its core values of learning, excellence, integrity, respect, and creativity. If you, or someone you know, experiences hate of any kind, please report it to campus personnel. This can be any member of SGA, the Student Life office, a professor, Public Safety, etc. You can report an incident to Public Safety by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or filing a complaint through this form. If in immediate danger, dial 6 from any campus phone for Public Safety or dial 911.
To understand the events leading up to this tragedy, please refer to this timeline published by the Council of Foreign Relations. If you would like to donate to support the Afghani people affected by the recent violence, here are some great organizations to contribute to:
- Child Foundation
- International Media Support
- International Medical Corps
- International Rescue Committee
- Women for Afghan Women
The Student Government Association stands in solidarity with Afghanistan and we will continue to serve as a voice and support system.
The SGA Diversity Committee will continue to work to improve and amplify the experience of our Afghanistan community members.
Umar “Sultan” Kahloon
This Student Government Association has prepared all aspects of this communication and remains responsible for its content.