Go to WRC in the News library
WRC in the News

They Rejected Rescue for a Chance to Get a Fulbright and Change Afghanistan. Now, All That Is in Doubt

When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Maryam Jami’s boss offered to help her flee the country. She said no.

As a college-educated woman and human rights advocate, the 23-year-old was at risk of harassment or violence under the Taliban’s militant Islamic rule.

Jami was in the pipeline to snag a Fulbright scholarship to study in the USA. She didn’t want to scuttle such a prestigious opportunity – even though it would require her to return to Afghanistan with a bigger target on her back.

The Taliban’s sudden takeover and the U.S. State Department’s uncertain response have left about 100 Fulbright semifinalists in limbo in Afghanistan.

Gayatri Patel, vice president of external relations at the Women’s Refugee Commission, said it’s not clear how many at-risk Afghans rejected evacuation offers to stay in their home country.

What is clear: “They are incredibly brave,” she said.

Learn more about WRC’s work on Afghanistan.