US mom helps rescue Afghan girls robotics team

U.S. and World

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The young Afghan women who inspired much of the world with their work as members of the all-female Afghan Robotics team are safe, thanks in part to the tireless efforts of an Oklahoma mom.

Allyson Reneau told NewsNation Prime’s Marni Hughes on Monday that she met the young women when they were in the United States.

“They had so much fun, and we just stayed in touch for a couple of years. They were really hoping to come to the United States and pursue their engineering degrees and then go back to their country at that time, and hopefully make a difference there.”

The all-girl Afghan group first gained international attention in 2017, when they traveled to Washington, D.C., for an international robotics competition.

As the Taliban swept into power, the girls left their homeland “with just a suitcase and clothes on their back. … But, you know, they’ve grown up in a war zone. They’re tough … but they’re gentle and humble. And they’re just absolute geniuses.”

Reneau said that while she is reluctant to discuss details about the girls’ escape, she is hearing from universities with “scholarship offers for them in the United States. … They’re a little anxious about their future, but I just let them know everything’s gonna be OK.”

Because of her success in helping the robotics team girls to escape, Reneau said she is now hearing from other Afghan women seeking help in finding refuge from the Taliban regime.

“I began to receive dire messages from women who were in hiding in Afghanistan … They’re all from a particular profession, and they were fired. The minute Kabul was taken over, letters were sent to them by the Taliban. They were being hunted. Two of them were shot, One of them was beat so badly that she nearly died.”

Reneau said she can’t share many details of the latest rescue effort, but added that people from NASA, Yale Law School and the American Bar Association are all helping. She intends to set up a Facebook donation page to help with the new group’s relocation expenses.

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