News Americas, MEXICO CITY, Mexico, Thurs. Aug. 26, 2021: Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban are now being flown to some Latin American nations for temporary shelter.
On Tuesday, five members of an all-girl Afghan robotics team arrived in Mexico, after the recent collapse of the US-backed government and takeover by the Taliban armed forces.
“We give you the warmest welcome to Mexico,” said Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Martha Delgado as she greeted the robotics team members during a news conference at Mexico City’s international airport late on Tuesday.
They join 124 media and their family members from Afghanistan, including New York Times journalists, the government said on Wednesday.
They arrived at Mexico City’s international airport early on Wednesday morning, where Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard waited to greet them.
“Mexico has decided to support human rights applications for refuge, asylum and humanitarian visas for people in Afghanistan who have asked to have this humanitarian condition,” Ebrard said.
Ebrard helped to arrange the journalists’ departure from Kabul, which included a stopover in Qatar, before their eventual arrival in Mexico, according to the New York Times.
Mexico was able to “cut through the red tape” to take in the media workers, unlike the United States, the Times said.
A former Kabul and Mexico bureau chief for the Times who maintained a cordial relationship with Ebrard made the request that Mexico receive the refugees, the Times said. Other journalists from the Wall Street Journal in Afghanistan could arrive later in Mexico, the Times added.
The Mexican government touted the operation as an example of its commitment to freedom of expression, despite its past ridicule of coverage by local and international media including the New York Times.
Colombia is also temporarily hosting some 4,000 Afghans while they await approval to enter the United States. All will be located in Bogotá.
“Colombia is also joining the group of allied countries which will offer support to the United States so those citizens of Afghanistan who gave help to the United States for years and who are in the process of registering and making a migrant transfer to that country can be in Colombia temporarily,” President Ivan Duque said recently in joint remarks with U.S. ambassador Philip Goldberg.
The United States will pay the cost of the Afghans’ stay in the Andean country, Goldberg said, thanking Colombia for its help with the effort and also for its generosity in receiving some 2 million Venezuelan migrants.
Chile and Ecuador have also committed to taking in some of the refugees.