To develop a comprehensive security strategy in order to adequately protect the Sikh population in Afghanistan that are often victims of terrorist attacks and religious persecution. This strategy may include a combination of foreign policy, advocacy efforts, political engagement, and direct assistance to at-risk populations. Our focus is on building a strategy that can be easily and quickly implemented by the United Sikhs as evidence shows that in the past decade the Sikh population in Afghanistan has dwindled from over 100,000 to roughly 700 due to forced emigration or casualties.
About Our Sponsor: United Sikhs
The United Sikhs is a U.N. affiliated, international non-profit, non-governmental, humanitarian relief, human development and advocacy organization that seeks to protect vulnerable populations globally. They have 10 chapters across the globe, and have served for 20 years in assistance for over 60 disasters. In their current Afghan campaign, most funds are directed towards humanitarian aid, resettlement efforts, and COVID relief. Funds are collected through GoFundMe donations and wired to the Afghan Sikh population.
Our Proposed Solutions
In the short term, we see monetary aid and private security as solutions that can prolong the stay of the remaining Sikh populations. In Survey of the Afghan Hindus and Sikhs by Ehsan Shayegan, Mahdi Frough, and Sayed Masood Sadat, the factors associated with desire to stay in Afghanistan include being Afghan or having grown up in Afghanistan, liking Afghanistan or thinking it is a nice place, or for conditional reasons like if there were peace or employment. A small amount of survey respondents also posited that they did not have enough funds to leave even if they wanted to.
Keeping these factors in mind, it is not within our interests to encourage the remaining Afghan Sikhs to migrate or repopulate elsewhere. The 700 Sikhs remaining have had numerous opportunities to migrate, thus it is in the United Sikhs' interest to facilitate a safe and healthy living environment for them. In the long term, advocacy and representation in Afghan government are the most plausible ways for United Sikhs to assist the Sikhs. Advocacy would include informing the general public in order to garner governmental support and working with the Afghan Sikh diaspora to maintain relationships between these global communities. We've outlined what kind of Congressional support the United Sikhs could pursue in order to advocate for the Sikhs in peace negotiations between the Taliban and the United States.
We have provided a link to our final report, which includes a summary of our research, final conclusions, and a sample one-page brief the United Sikhs could use to reach more stakeholders. The second link is our ArcGIS StoryMap that outlines more of our research, and can be used as a visual tool to convince stakeholders of the importance of this pressing issue. Finally, we've explained our proposed plans for private security and increased aid.