Afghanistan’s all-girl robotics team lands safely after being given refuge by Mexico | Science & Tech News
Five members of Afghanistan’s all-girl robotics team have landed safely in Mexico after fleeing the country following the Taliban’s rapid takeover.
Known as the “robot girls”, the 10 students from the city of Herat won international acclaim for their engineering work in a country which under Taliban rule had offered limited opportunities for girls to gain an education.
Although there are hopes that the Taliban’s promise to respect women’s rights in future will mean no return to the strict interpretation of Islam that barred them from school and working outside of the home, the teenagers have decided to leave the country to continue with their engineering.
Speaking to Sky News earlier this week in Doha, Qatar, five of the team said they didn’t know which country would end up being their new home.
However, when asked if they had a preference, the bar was low – anywhere that was safe that would allow them to could continue their education.
Sky News has heard reports of girls’ schools being closed in other provinces, that women and girls are being told to stay at home or are too afraid to go outside.
Another group of university students evacuated to Doha described how the Taliban had taken control of their campus in Kabul.
Despite assurances the Taliban was just protecting the university, they felt scared enough to leave the country to study safely elsewhere.
Mexico’s undersecretary for multilateral affairs and human rights, Martha Delgado, said: “Following the tradition of solidarity and with the feminist foreign policy of the Mexican government, we have carried out many diplomatic efforts to create a safe passage that would allow us to bring them to Mexico.”
“We give you the warmest welcome to Mexico,” Ms Delgado added.
The engineers have received humanitarian visas which will allow them to stay in the country for up to 180 days, after which they may apply to extend their stay.
“We are very happy to be here and it is an honour that the government of Mexico has honoured us with being here and having saved our lives,” said team member Fatemah Qaderyan.
“From now on forward we will have opportunities for many more achievements in our lives, and thus be part of the fight for a better life,” Ms Qaderyan added.
“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.”
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