After the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, part of a famed all-girls robotics team fled the country.
“The Taliban have promised to allow girls to be educated to whatever extent allowed by Shariah law,” the team’s founder, tech entrepreneur Roya Mahboob, told the Times. “We will have to wait and see to what that means.”
The team did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
As the Taliban quickly took over the country amid the U.S. military’s withdrawal in recent days, many have raised concerns about women’s rights in the nation, which were severely curtailed under the Islamist insurgents’ rule from 1996 to 2001. At the time, girls were banned from school and women from work, and they were allowed out in public only if fully covered and escorted by a male relative.
Though the Taliban has said girls will be able to attend school and women’s rights will be respected “within the framework of Islamic law,” many have expressed skepticism that girls and women will be allowed to live freely under the ultraconservative group’s rule.
The all-girls robotics team rose to international fame in 2017, when the U.S. denied them visas to come to the country for a competition, then relented after public outcry and intervention by then-President Donald Trump. The girls won a medal at the contest for “courageous achievement.”
Members of the team had planned to leave Kabul on a flight Monday, according to The New York Times, but their flight was canceled amid the chaos at the airport as thousands attempted to escape. The government of Qatar sent a plane and expedited visa processes to bring the girls to Doha, according to a statement from the Digital Citizen Fund, the team’s parent organization.
The United States, the European Union and other nations said in a joint statement Wednesday: “We are deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement. We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection.”