With No Resources, Authority or Country, Afghan Ambassador Presses On

It was a sentiment with particular piquancy given the failure of Afghan forces to stave off the collapse of their country in the end, and given the thousands of Afghans who have struggled mightily to get their promises of passage to the United States fulfilled after helping coalition forces over the years.

Gone were the Afghan musicians who had animated so many dinners at the embassy before, less because of constraints on budgets than because of those on Ms. Raz’s emotional reserves.

“I can’t do that,” she said, recalling a fund-raising event not long after the Afghan government fell in August, during which a traditional band played the national anthem. “It was way too emotional,” Ms. Raz said. “I was crying so loud, I had to go upstairs to my office to calm down.”

Ms. Raz was 16 years old when American forces invaded Afghanistan after the attacks of Sept. 11. Their arrival heralded a new future for her and other Afghan women and girls, and she quickly enrolled in high school. She later attended both Simmons College (now called Simmons University) and the Fletcher School at Tufts University in the United States on scholarship.

In 2013, she returned to Afghanistan to serve in senior government roles. In 2018, she became Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the United Nations, and, in July, she was appointed ambassador to the United States and moved here with her two daughters, 4 and 2. “I was just settling myself,” she said, “then the roller coaster started with everything.”

The collapse of Afghanistan began on Aug. 6, with the fall of a western provincial capital to Taliban powers. By Aug. 15, the group’s fighters had seized Kabul, as Americans began a chaotic and, at times, deadly evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

Ms. Raz spent her short official tenure pressing the Biden administration to intervene more forcefully to help women left behind. Her future is unclear — will she somehow remain ambassador, or, more likely, find a way to change her immigration status to work here?

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