Allies Left Behind Documentary Shines Light on Past War Plight

Following America’s withdrawal from the war in Afghanistan, nearly 300,000 Afghan men, women, and children who were loyal allies to America were forced to fend for themselves. Allies Left Behind, a documentary by Refael Kubersky, shows the upheaval caused by America’s departure and tells the stories of America’s Afghan allies, who now face struggle and peril in their home country, as well as extradition in Pakistan.

“This is not a political issue, it’s a national issue,” says Kubersky. “America’s departure from Afghanistan has had a profound impact on the people there who supported us the most, and now they face the ultimate sacrifice.” 

Kubersky, who worked for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and graduated from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service with a Master of Science in International Relations, created Allies Left Behind to make America and the rest of the world aware of the situation in the Middle East and inspire action.

Feeling a “strong calling” to raise awareness for America’s Afghan allies, especially those who fled to Pakistan, where their future is unknown and they are faced with imminent deportation, Kubersky’s film features interviews with real people who have been affected by the withdrawal, including Afghan women who supported female rights throughout the war.

“I am honored to amplify the voices of our allies who have been silenced and share their stories,” says Kubersky. “My goal for the film is to uncover the promise that has been left unfulfilled for too long and educate the public on how they can support better policies to bring them home.”

According to a 2023 article by Hudson.org, only 124,000 Afghan allies were evacuated out of the country, 90,000 of whom have made it to the United States. Of those, only 21,000 have been issued a special immigration visa (SIV), which the article states “provides much-needed clarity on their legal status and right to remain and work in the United States.” 

The article also states that according to the State Department’s Inspector General Diana Shaw, 152,000 SIV applicants remain in Afghanistan today, on top of the tens of thousands of Afghans who either qualify for or are in the process of applying for US Refugee Admissions Program Priority-1 (P1) or Afghan Priority-2 Program (P2) Visas. 

Allies Left Behind is a documentary that uncovers America’s Afghan allies who have yet to be assisted despite their years of service to the United States. Wolv Media, the digital media company responsible for the documentary, states that Afghan refugees awaiting processing in the United States are also eligible for residency because they assisted the US government during their twenty-year presence in Afghanistan. Despite their eligibility, many Afghans are experiencing visa processing delays as they struggle to go on.

Refael Kubersky, who is passionate about technology in international affairs and the rise of populism, has previously lived in Egypt, Jordan, and Italy. He hopes that this documentary will shed light on these issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the refugees who are fighting for their citizenship as a result of their work during the war.