Five members of an all-girl Afghan robotics team have arrived in Mexico, fleeing an uncertain future at home after the recent collapse of the US-backed government and takeover by the Taliban armed group.
“We give you the warmest welcome to Mexico,” Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Martha Delgado said on Tuesday evening as she greeted them during a news conference at Mexico City’s international airport.
Members of the team thanked the government for saving their lives and giving them an opportunity in Mexico.
“We are happy to be here,” Fatemah Qaderyan one member of the team said, according to local media reports. “From now on we will have opportunities for many more achievements in our lives” she added.
Recibimos a las primeras solicitantes de status humanitario en México provenientes de Afganistán , ellas forman parte del equipo de robótica de ese país y defienden un sueño : un mundo con igualdad de género. Bienvenidas!!! pic.twitter.com/Kw0WFtR3Bk
— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) August 25, 2021
“Translation: We received the first applicants for humanitarian status in Mexico from Afghanistan, they are part of the robotics team in that country, and they [are] defend[ing] a dream: a world with gender equality. Welcome !!!” Marcelo Ebrard
Mexico has pledged to aid Afghan women and girls.
Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo EbrardEbrard said on August 18 that the country had begun “processing of the first refugee applications of Afghan citizens, especially women and girls who have requested it,” with the aid of Guillermo Puente Ordorica, ambassador of Mexico in Iran.
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last week as the United States and its allies began to withdraw troops from the country. The White House and US allies are racing to complete the evacuation of all foreigners and vulnerable Afghans before an August 31 deadline agreed with the Taliban, US President Biden said this week.
The team, made up of girls and women as young as 14, has been heralded for winning international awards for its robots and started work in March on an open-source, low-cost ventilator as the coronavirus pandemic hit the war-torn nation.
Tuesday’s safe arrival in Mexico was made possible by an “extensive international effort and coordination from a group of volunteers” who helped the girls, according to a volunteer who requested anonymity for fear of the safety of the families that remain under Taliban control.