Afghan journalists and their families landed in Mexico early Wednesday morning after a quick evacuation operation led by Mexican authorities. A total of 124 people, including minors, have arrived at the Benito Juárez airport in Mexico City after a 20-hour flight, as confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Among the asylum seekers are reporters who have collaborated with US media, such as The New York Times, Those who were not helped by the US Government.
“Mexico has decided to support humanitarian requests for people in Afghanistan,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a message to the media after the arrival of the journalists. “In this case it is about those who are risking their lives to inform and are committed to freedom of expression. All human lives are important, but I want to emphasize that this group that has arrived represents values associated with freedom of the press, ”said the Foreign Minister. The Secretariat has not confirmed whether Mexico is the reporters’ final destination or is a stop before reaching the United States.
A few hours earlier, five Afghan women — and the partner of one of them — landed in Mexico, making up the prestigious robotics team Afghan Dreamers Team. They have been the first to benefit from the asylum policy that Andrés Manuel López Obrador will maintain after the Taliban take over Afghanistan. “The position that the President of the Republic has asked us is in accordance with the Mexican tradition in favor of refuge. Mexico has already had this tradition for more than a century and a half, in this case we could not stop doing it, ”said Ebrard, referring to the reception from Spanish refugees from the Civil War to exiles from the dictatorships of Chile or Argentina.
For now, the newcomers have received a six-month permit to stay in Mexico. Travel and living expenses will be covered by private sponsors and civil society organizations, according to the Secretariat. In an interview with The New York Times, Ebrard has defended the reception of Afghans in contrast to the government’s position towards people fleeing Central America. “We must make clear the difference between economic migrants and people seeking refuge and asylum,” said the foreign minister.
This is how the evacuation operation was conceived
At five in the afternoon on August 12, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard received a message from Azam Ahmed, who was chief of the Kabul and Mexico correspondent offices of The New York Times. “Is the Government of Mexico willing to receive refugees from Afghanistan? We have people there, good people who are trying to get out, ”asked Ahmed. At first, the chancellor’s response was negative, but after consulting with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, they decided to give the green light to the operation. The president asked that the matter be addressed “quickly.” The accelerated fall of Kabul and the collapse of the airport precipitated the evacuation. “We did not have time to have the normal official channels,” said Ebrard. The agreement between Mexico and The New York Times it was conceived in confidentiality. Once approved, the López Obrador government extended the invitation to journalists from The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Journalists from Journal They are currently in Qatar and Ukraine and plan to arrive in Mexico, according to the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Matt Murray. No spokesperson for the Post has commented on its reporters.
“Mexican officials, unlike their counterparts in the United States, managed to overcome the bureaucracy of their immigration system to quickly provide the documents that, in turn, allowed Afghans to fly from the besieged Kabul airport to Doha, Qatar. . The documents promised that Afghans would receive temporary humanitarian protection in Mexico while they explored future options in the United States or other countries, “he said. in an article The New York Times.
The newspaper has been very critical of the evacuation management by Joe Biden’s Executive: “Two of the most powerful news organizations in the country desperately sought help away from Washington.”
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