September 19, 2022
We recently marked the one-year anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Many of you will remember the frantic days between August 15, when the Taliban seized Kabul, and August 31, the date U.S. forces set for their withdrawal. The United States ultimately evacuated approximately 125,000 people from Afghanistan before completing its withdrawal. Unfortunately, many more were unable to evacuate and have been in hiding, on the run, and living in constant fear of Taliban reprisals ever since.
As these events unfolded, a firmwide team of Gibson Dunn attorneys immediately jumped into action. Especially in those early days, we had attorneys and staff across the Firm working day and night to help individuals and families trying to escape Afghanistan and find safety in the United States or elsewhere. Our initial efforts focused on a handful of families with direct connections to the Firm, such as interpreters who had worked with Gibson Dunn attorneys who previously served in the U.S. military. However, what began as a very personal mission to help several families at risk of Taliban violence quickly evolved into something much bigger.
Over the last year, our attorneys have worked alongside our nonprofit and corporate partners to help Afghans seeking to flee Afghanistan, as well as those who already had traveled to the UK, the United States, and elsewhere. Since August 2021, the firmwide Afghanistan Task Force has grown to well over 200 attorneys who collectively have devoted more than 11,000 pro bono hours to the mission—work valued at approximately $10 million. If you’d like to learn more about the Firm’s work on behalf of hundreds of Afghan clients, please watch a short video found here.