All-Girls Robotics Team From Afghanistan Begging to Come to Canada: Report

Their appeal to Canadians and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comes as the Taliban regains control over Afghanistan.
Anya Zoledziowski
Toronto, CA
August 16, 2021, 8:36pm
Justing Trudeau meets all girls afghanistan robotics team in 2018
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is given a robotic demonstration as he meets the Afghan Dreamers team in the Library of Parliament on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Afghanistan’s all-girls robotics team is trying to escape the country and make it to Canada while the Taliban, known for its cruelty against women, continues to regain control over the nation.

“To talk to these girls and listen to them crying over the phone to be saved… Begging that the Canadians save them... These girls have a future—they deserve to have a future. They all want to go to college. They will not be able to do that if they remain in Afghanistan,” said human rights lawyer Kimberley Motley on CBC News Network.

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According to Motley, the robotics team is appealing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau because they competed in a robotics competition in Canada in 2018 and won the highest honour in their category. Trudeau met the girls at the time, which Motley said was “life-changing” for them.

“We are literally begging the Canadian government, we are begging Prime Minister Trudeau—who has been an amazing supporter of the Afghan girls robotics team—to please allow them to come to Canada,” Motley said. 

The Taliban, a militant group that imposes strict interpretations of Islamic law, including barring women from public life and banning music, movies, and television, controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, until U.S.-backed forces overthrew the regime.

After 20 years of unrest and U.S. occupation, U.S. troops are withdrawing, and the Taliban has resurged, seizing most of the country, including the capital city of Kabul, which resulted in the country’s president fleeing the country on Sunday. The group has been accused of a number of human rights abuses, including violent punishment of dissidents and treating young women and girls as sex slaves. 

The Canadian government has already committed to welcoming 20,000 Afghans into the country. Trudeau’s office did not response to VICE World News requests for comment specific to the robotics team by the time of publication.  

“These girls are extremely terrified,” said Motley. “These 20 girls, between the ages of 12 and 18, are seeing this and watching tearfully as their city (Herat) is crumbling down.” (The Taliban seized Herat last week.) 

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“What’s been happening to little girls over this last week is the Taliban has been literally going from door to door and literally taking girls out and forcing them to become child brides,” Motley said, adding securing refuge in Canada would give the girls a future.

“They’re worried about what tomorrow brings. They want to continue to be educated. They want to continue to be the future of Afghanistan, but it's an extremely tenuous and dangerous situation for them,” Motley said. 

Motley said if Canada welcomes the team, it’ll show that efforts to democratize Afghanistan were “worth it.”

Chilling images and videos out of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport show scores of people desperately trying to get onto moving airplanes, with men falling to their deaths as the plane ascends. VICE World News reported how the Kabul airport is the only way out of the country and thousands of people have unsuccessfully sought out passports. 

Meanwhile, a Canadian Armed Forces evacuation team is in Kabul right now, the Toronto Sun reported, but the government hasn’t given it the green light to leave the country yet. In fact, the government won’t disclose how many Canadians are stranded in the country. 

“Due to the security situation in Afghanistan, Global Affairs is not disclosing the number of Canadians who are registered in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database,” Global Affairs Canada (GAC) spokesperson told Global News.

Canada is in the midst of an election, which is largely preoccupying politicians.

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