(CNN) – Five women from Afghanistan’s renowned robotics team arrived in Mexico on Tuesday, following the takeover of the country by the Taliban.
The five women, along with one of their partners, were transported on a commercial flight to Mexico on Monday, financed by different organizations, said Martha Delgado, undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations, at a conference of press on Tuesday.
A frenzied Western evacuation operation at Kabul airport accelerated after the Taliban said Tuesday they would no longer allow the evacuation of Afghans. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has made it clear that his goal is to meet his August 31 deadline to withdraw troops from the country.
Many of those who fled the country since the Taliban took power have been educated people, especially women. The last time the Taliban ruled, women were banned from working and attending schools and universities.
“Following the tradition of solidarity and with the feminist foreign policy of the Mexican government, we have made many diplomatic efforts to create a safe passage that allows us to bring them to Mexico,” Delgado said. “We give you the warmest welcome to Mexico.”
The women will have a humanitarian visa for up to 180 days, after which they may have the option of an extension, Delgado said.
A Mexico-based institution, which was not named for security reasons, offered accommodation, food and basic services at no cost to team members, Delgado said.
“We are very happy to be here and it is an honor that the Mexican government has honored us with being here and saving our lives,” team member Fatemah Qaderyan said at the press conference.
“From now on we will have opportunities for many more achievements in our lives, and thus we will be part of the fight for a better life,” said Qaderyan. “Although we are far from our homes, we will always be united and thanks to your help we will achieve it, thank you very much, we really appreciate having all our things here in Mexico with us.”
Several other members of the team had previously been evacuated to Qatar, according to the country’s government.
The team received worldwide attention in 2017 after they were twice denied entry to the United States for a robotics competition, until former President Donald Trump intervened.
The team received further recognition for creating ventilators made from auto parts used to care for COVID-19 patients.