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Angelina Jolie has joined Instagram — and is using it as a tool for her humanitarian efforts.
The actress, director and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy made her social media debut on Friday, sharing a letter she was sent from a teenage girl from Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover and collapse of the Afghan government.
"Right now, the people of Afghanistan are losing their ability to communicate on social media and to express themselves freely," the 46-year-old mom of six wrote. "So I’ve come on Instagram to share their stories and the voices of those across the globe who are fighting for their basic human rights."
The letter writer said before the Taliban swept back in, she was able to go to work and school and had rights. Now, "We are all afraid of them, and we think all of our dreams are gone," she wrote. She noted that some people have said the Taliban has changed, "but I do not think so because they had a very bad past." She went on to say she thinks her school will be closed and fears they have gone back "20 years and again we have no rights... We all lost our freedom and we are imprisoned again."
Jolie, in spotlighting the letter, shared that she was "on the border of Afghanistan two weeks before 9/11, where I met Afghan refugees who had fled the Taliban. This was twenty years ago. It is sickening to watch Afghans being displaced yet again out of the fear and uncertainty that has gripped their country."
The movie star continued, "To spend so much time and money, to have blood shed and lives lost only to come to this, is a failure almost impossible to understand." And how "Afghan refugees - some of the most capable people in the world — are treated like a burden is also sickening."
She said she knows "that if they had the tools and respect, how much they would do for themselves. And meeting so many women and girls who not only wanted an education, but fought for it."
Jolie ended her first social media post over by writing, "Like others who are committed, I will not turn away. I will continue to look for ways to help. And I hope you’ll join me."
For nearly two decades there has been war in Afghanistan — with the deaths of 2,352 U.S. military members, an estimated 66,000 Afghan military/national police and 47,245 Afghan civilians. The U.S. has spent an estimated $2.2 trillion on the war effort. Ahead of the U.S.'s full withdrawal of troops, the Taliban stormed the cities and gained control, undoing the two decades of military and diplomatic efforts.