Afghan journalists find sanctuary
A group of Afghans who worked for The New York Times touched down safely early Wednesday, along with their families — not in New York or Washington, but in Mexico City. Our media columnist wrote about Mexico’s role in the rescue of journalists.
The arrival of the 24 families was the latest stop in a harrowing escape from Kabul.
Mexican officials, unlike their counterparts in the U.S., were able to cut through the red tape of their immigration system to quickly provide documents that, in turn, allowed the Afghans to fly from Kabul’s embattled airport to Doha, Qatar. The documents promised that the Afghans would receive temporary humanitarian protection in Mexico while they explored further options in the U.S. or elsewhere.
“We didn’t have time in order to have the normal official channels,” Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said.
While the United States has ramped up its evacuation flights, the politicized and bureaucratic American immigration system has struggled to meet the crisis. Processing the special visas that are available to journalists often requires them to spend at least a year in a third country, presumably to satisfy the forces warning that Muslim immigrants may be terrorists working under extremely deep cover.
The Mexican government is now looking to extend similar protections to other journalists and to women who are in danger in Afghanistan, the foreign minister said.