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NEWS / Afghanistan

Father of robotics team member killed in Herat attack

Father of Fatemah Qaderyan, who shot to fame by leading team travelling to US, was injured in ISIL's Herat assault.

by Shereena Qazi

The father of one of the Afghan girls who caught the world's attention when trying to attend a robotics contest in the US was killed on Tuesday in an ISIL-claimed attack at a mosque in Herat.

Fatemah Qaderyan, the 14-year-old Afghan robotics team captain, is "angry and grieving" following the deadly attack on Shia worshippers, the team's coach, Ali Reza Mehrban, told Al Jazeera.

"Fatemah's father could not survive the injuries and lost his life," Ali Reza Mehrban, the team's director, told Al Jazeera.

At least 32 people were killed in the attack, and more than 60 were wounded.

"[Fatemah] is very angry and is not eating or speaking to anyone, she is going through a very difficult time," Mehrban said.

READ MORE: Funerals, protests for Herat mosque bombing victims

Qaderyan said in an interview in July at The First Global Challenge international robotics contest that her father was her greatest support.

The team won a silver medal for "courageous achievement", with judges praising the group's "can-do attitude".

The event in Washington, DC in July attracted teams of teenagers from more than 150 nations.

But all eyes were on the squad of girls from Afghanistan, who had twice travelled 800km to the American embassy in Kabul, only to have their visa applications turned down.

They were finally granted entry with just one week to go until the event began after their story went viral.

Al Jazeera interviewed Qaderyan after the team was granted a visa.

"Afghanistan is a country at war and doesn't have a lot of resources at hand. Other countries should consider this; they shouldn't be so strict with us," she told Al Jazeera in July.

Social media users offered condolences to Fatemah and her family. 

Series of attacks

Public faith in Afghanistan's police and security services plummeted after the attack, the latest in a series of assaults in recent weeks.

Hundreds took to Herat's streets and protested, demanding better protection.

The protesters reportedly blocked an envoy of President Ashraf Ghani to deliver a speech during the rally.

On Wednesday, a Taliban attack on NATO troops in Kandahar killed two US soldiers. Deadly violence was also reported on Tuesday in Helmand province and Paktia.

On Monday, fighters belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for a suicide blast at the Iraqi embassy in Kabul that killed at least two Afghan guards.

On July 24, a Taliban suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives in western Kabul as they attacked a bus, killing at least 24 people and wounding another 42.

The bus was carrying staff from the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.

Najiba Hussaini, a 28-year-old, was among those killed.

As a young high school graduate, she won a degree scholarship to study computer applications in India and went on Japan's Kobe city to receive a master's degree in information systems.


SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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