The End of Our Afghan Mission
Writing a letter to you about this felt most appropriate. You've supported our mission for years and for the majority of us--it's personal.
Throughout history, it's always good to remember--All things are built just to fall apart.
As you know, we began this company and mission with the intent to rally compassionate people to help those overlooked by the media, government, and major corporations. Build products in war zones to create jobs and the accompanying security, put footwear on bad ass people committed to being better humans, and use profits to fund girls schools in Afghanistan.
Admittedly, it was an audacious mission that many believed would fail. 10 years later, we're all still here. Unfortunately, the final part of our mission came to an end in August of 2021.
With the fall of Kabul and the new government, Aid Afghanistan for Education had to close its doors to the 13 schools in Northern Afghanistan.
To say it's a loss is an understatement. If you know me and been in the circle of Combat Flip Flops, you know it's been a struggle. But regardless of how tough the struggle, the entire team would saddle up and continue forward because somewhere in Afghanistan, a little girl was sitting in a classroom learning to read. It was our purpose. And now that purpose is gone.
In reading this, I hope you mourn the loss alongside us.
How do we move forward from here? We do what we always do--saddle up, recognize the good we did in the world while we had the time and stage, then refocus on another equally positive endeavor.
Be proud that you're part of a community that put over 1,000 young girls in school. Without you, they never would have had that chance. And because of you, they have a chance now. If they made it out, they can attend school elsewhere. If they didn't, maybe they're the voice that will bring women's education back to Afghanistan. But neither of those groups would have had that chance if it weren't for you.
It's been a tough couple of months settling in with the reality of the situation. Inside the front cover of my journal is a Venn Diagram with two circles. On the left, "What you can control." On the right, "What matters." In the overlap, "Focus Here."
We can't control the gross ineptitude of governments and the current stranglehold on Afghanistan. So for the time being, we have to let it go and focus elsewhere.
We will continue to make quality products in post conflict areas. We will continue to help veterans at home.
What we can control. What Matters. Focus.
With the Utmost Gratitude and Respect,
Andy, Griff, Lee
Founders, Combat Flip Flops
So sad to hear – as someone from the UK who advocates for your business – uses it as a case study for students and entrepreneurs in how passion and purpose can lead to us to a world without bullets. Your mission will stay alive so long as we remain focused on a better world. Thanks for all you have done – and I will continue to wear my t-shirts with pride.
Educate girls clandestinely.
As a combat engineer vet from the UK now in the US working as a Paramedic and Public Safety Diver it’s a pleasure to know that you tried your best for so many caught up in warfare. I try my best to make a positive difference to people’s lives daily here unlike the inept government that negated so many by abruptly abandoning them.
I’ve been searching your site and socials for your new mission after reading how you had to cut ties with Afghanistan. A noble mission undercut by incompetent government agencies to turn their focus against another war we shouldn’t be involved in. I’m interested in what you are considering. Certainly, needy causes are in no short supply: Yemen, refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine (not the government but the people caught between the politics) and other unstable regimes. Please keep us informed. Thanks.
Be proud of what you did. You did more than most in making the world a better place. I’m sure you will find another cause worth supporting either in relation to Afghanistan or somewhere else. When you do please make a big deal out of it. I would love to donate to whatever you decide.
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