Afghans who worked for the New York Times arrive in Houston

Two weeks after escaping from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and after complex negotiations involving government officials from several countries, a group of Afghans who worked for the New York Times, along with their families, reached the states -United.

The 124 people, including journalists, drivers, cooks, interpreters and more than 60 children, arrived at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on Tuesday, after taking a charter flight from Mexico City, paid for by The Times. . They were accompanied on the flight by a team from The Times, and met at the airport by representatives of the Catholic charities resettlement program.

As of Thursday, all but one of 124 people had been cleared from the airport by U.S. customs and border protection officials. Farooq Jan Mangal, an Afghan journalist who had worked as a full-time reporter for The Times in eastern Afghanistan in Khost, remained under treatment.

“We hope the border authorities quickly resolve the issues that have delayed the treatment of a remaining Times reporter Farooq Jan Mangal, who for more than a decade has courageously signaled to help keep the world informed about Afghanistan.” , AG Sulzberger, publisher of The Times, said in a statement.

The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment.

The 123 Afghans who have been allowed into the country are to be placed in furnished apartments with the help of Catholic Charities, a non-profit group that will also help enroll children in schools, will facilitate access to advice and English courses and will provide links to potential jobs. once group members are cleared to work. There are 26 families in all, according to the Times.

“It’s hard to overstate my admiration for the courage and perseverance that these colleagues and their families have shown throughout this difficult journey,” Sulzberger said in a note to The Times on Thursday. “They have been supported every step of the way by caring, tireless and at times truly heroic colleagues across the company, who have worked tirelessly and moved mountains to keep this group safe and continue to do the same for the rest of them. in the field. “

The Afghans were evacuated from Kabul on August 19, with the help of the government of Qatar, which organized the passage to Doha. From there, Mexican authorities facilitated the trip to Mexico City, where the group had stayed since last Wednesday while waiting for The Times to obtain relocation services in Houston.

The people stayed in corporate apartments in Mexico City, where they performed medical checks and Covid-19 tests and were offered trauma counseling. Colleagues at The Times helped provide them with clothes, diapers and even Kandahar raisins and other dried goodies bought at an Afghan market in Washington.

Mr Sulzberger said in a statement he was grateful for the support of the US government for dealing quickly with the group’s entry into the country and also thanked the Qatari and Mexican governments for their assistance in the rescue. The Times is helping the group, which is entering the United States on a humanitarian parole program, with immigration issues. Some Afghans who worked for the Times remain in transit, Sulzberger said in a statement.

“We are doing all we can to bring other former colleagues on the ground to safety and will continue to push the international community to help protect the many more courageous Afghan journalists who remain at risk,” he said.

Other major news outlets helped Afghans who worked with them leave the country following the US withdrawal.

All Afghans who worked for the Wall Street Journal during the conflict have been evacuated, along with their families, according to a journalist for the Journal. Of that group of 80, four went from Kabul to Ukraine, and the remaining 76 went to Qatar for a while before heading to Mexico City on Sunday, where they are staying. The group included journalists, translators, interpreters and support staff. The Journal declined to comment on the group’s future plans.

The Washington Post said two Afghan workers and their families, a group of 12, have arrived safely in the United States. The newspaper adds that it continues to help another former Afghan employee who is trying to leave Kabul.

Many journalists working for international news agencies have left Afghanistan in recent weeks as the Taliban swept the country, but some Afghan citizens who worked alongside the media have remained there.

The Taliban formally pledged to protect the media, but they harassed and beat journalists working for an Afghan television station, according to a recent report by Reporters Without Borders.

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