A number of interested parties in Manhattan are working to put together a plan of action for aiding Afghan refugees who may move to the community.

City Commissioner and Army veteran Aaron Estabrook and Army veteran, K-State student and Afghan native Fatima Jaghoori are spearheading the effort, with a meeting earlier this week taking place to set the early portions of the plan.

Estabrook tells KMAN that he was contacted by a number of Afghans already living in the area who had family airlifted from Kabul over the past couple weeks.

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Estabrook tells KMAN the group put together what they view as the key support areas in Tuesday’s session.

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Over 20 organizations he said raised their hands recently to offer help, if and when people arrive in Manhattan and the Flint Hills.

He says the idea is to have organizations and others prepared to help refugees deal with what can seem overwhelming in a chaotic time.

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The local group will hold another meeting September 28.

USD 383 is looking to the possibility of bringing in about 14 Afghan children into the district. Board member Karla Hagemeister spoke Wednesday at the school board meeting about the partnerships being forged between the FIT Closet, USD 383 staff and others in anticipation of their arrival.

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Hagemeister says the district could also be welcoming in displaced families from Louisiana and Mississippi as a result of Hurricane Ida. Board member Katrina Lewison spoke to her experience of bringing a family over here from Iraq.

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Refugees are first going to five military installations for vetting before being allowed to choose where they would like to resettle.


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