Facebook helped 175 endangered Afghan citizens flee the now Taliban-controlled country earlier this week.
The evacuees, some of whom were Facebook employees, were transported to Mexico City on Egypt Air’s first-ever flight to the country, the social media company confirmed in a statement to Axios on Wednesday.
‘In the process of assisting Facebook employees and close partners leave Afghanistan, we joined an effort to help a group of journalists and their families who were in grave danger,’ a company spokesperson said.
The tech group is collaborating with a private group working to help at-risk individuals leave Afghanistan following the American withdrawal on Monday, although specific details surrounding the evacuations remain unknown.
The U.S. and its allies evacuated more than 123,000 people out of Afghanistan before the withdrawal, however, President Joe Biden’s administration conceded on Wednesday that the majority of America’s Afghan allies were left in the country.
Facebook is just one of several corporations and private citizens groups working to evacuate people out of Afghanistan.
Facebook helped 175 endangered Afghans flee the now Taliban-controlled country earlier this week by airlifting them to Mexico (Pictured: Afghan refugees arriving at the Mexico City International Airport on August 31)
Facebook announced Wednesday that an Egypt Air plane carrying 175 Afghan social media workers, activists, journalists and their families, including 75 children, had successfully landed in Mexico
Facebook announced Wednesday that an Egypt Air plane carrying 175 Afghan social media workers, activists, journalists and their families, including 75 children, successfully landed at Mexico City International Airport.
The organisation worked with officials at Mexico’s embassies in Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt to ensure the evacuation.
‘Thanks to the leadership of the Mexican government, and the support of the UAE in providing the initial landing, the journalists have been welcomed in Mexico,’ the company added.
At this time it remains unclear when the evacuees arrived in Mexico City and how they received access to the Egypt Air plane.
Facebook declined to name the organisation it is working with or provide further details about the evacuees in effort of security.
The evacuation comes just two weeks after Facebook implemented new security measures for users worried about their safety.
The company’s head of security, Nathaniel Gleicher, announced last month in a thread of tweets: ‘We’ve launched a one-click tool for people in Afghanistan to quickly lock down their account. When their profile is locked, people who aren’t their friends can’t download or share their profile photo or see posts on their timeline.’
The platform is also actively banning Taliban content and posts.
Facebook says the mission was a joint effort between a private organisation and government workers at Mexico’s embassies in Iran, the UAE and Egypt
In a statement released Wednesday, Facebook said: ‘Thanks to the leadership of the Mexican government, and the support of the UAE in providing the initial landing, the journalists have been welcomed in Mexico’
Several other private groups have stepped in to aid in the evacuation efforts.
Earlier this week, in an interview with NPR, Mary Beth Long, a former assistant secretary of defence for International Security Affairs, confirmed that she was leading a coalition of former government and military officials that has evacuated at least 300 Americans that were not accounted for by the government.
Long said the coalition, along with several other private groups, has people on the ground in Afghanistan who are ‘literally going and picking up Afghans’.
‘We would have waypoints and have everyone meet there and then load buses with as many U.S. citizens, green card holders and Special Immigrant Visa holders as we possibly could,’ she explained.
The former government official noted that planes used in the evacuations were provided by donors and wealthy individuals.
Last week, the Guardian revealed that desperate individuals cleared for evacuation are reportedly paying private security firms more than £5,000 (approximately $6,900) to help them escape the clutches of the Taliban.
The firms were reportedly charging high fees, most of which was being used to pay off the Taliban, to provide a safe passage past Taliban fighters and to Kabul airport.
Britain and America officially ended their military presence in Afghanistan late Tuesday night, leaving behind hundreds of citizens and Afghan allies desperate to flee the country.
On Tuesday night, President Joe Biden declared the total troop withdrawal from Afghanistan an ‘extraordinary success,’ despite widespread criticism over his handling of the situation over the last month
On Tuesday night, Biden declared the total troop withdrawal from Afghanistan an ‘extraordinary success,’ despite widespread criticism over his handling of the situation over the last month.
‘I give you my word with all of my heart, I believe this is the right decision, the wise decision, and the best decision for America,’ Biden said in Tuesday remarks – the first after the last U.S. soldier left Kabul on Monday afternoon.
He made these claims despite the withdrawal leading to the deaths of 13 U.S. service members on Thursday after a ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated their vest outside the Kabul airport.
Several administration staffers contradicted Biden’s claims, saying they are ‘horrified’ with the Afghanistan withdrawal, do not view the mission as a success and are disgusted American citizens were left on the ground.
‘I am absolutely appalled and literally horrified we left Americans there,’ one administration official told Politico on Tuesday. ‘It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans in the guise of a NEO, and we have failed that no-fail mission.’
An NEO is a noncombatant evacuation operation. Another White House official told Politico that the mission cannot be labeled as accomplished if Americans are left behind.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, a retired three-star general said the U.S. will ‘inevitably’ have to return to Afghanistan as the Taliban regime will create a new threat to America that will eventually require another invasion.
A retired US general says America’s return to Afghanistan is ‘inevitable’ now that terrorist groups will flourish under Taliban rule. Pictured: US troops help passengers board an evacuation flight on August 24
‘I think it’s inevitable that we’ll be back in Afghanistan before long,’ the former senior commander said.
‘You’ll have a narco state run by Islamic terrorists. This is not a good development to peace and stability in the world.’
He said he is ‘very skeptical’ that the now-completed US airlift was thorough enough and believes there are many American citizens left behind who wanted to get out of the country.
The general also slammed Biden and top brass for an ‘immature, unsophisticated, ad-hoc’ plan and said the ‘insane debacle’, including the deaths of 13 officers from a suicide bomb last Thursday, was ‘preventable and totally avoidable’.
He argued that both top current military officers and the CIA advised Biden against the bungled Afghan evacuation from a civilian airport in the center of the Taliban-occupied capital, but claimed the president ignored them.