The father of a member of the Afghan all-girls robotics team that made headlines last month after overcoming US visa obstacles died this week in an ISIS bombing in Herat, Afghanistan.
Afghan authorities confirmed that Mohammad Asif Qaderyan, father of Fatima Qaderyan, was among 36 people killed in Tuesday’s attack at a Shiite mosque during evening prayers.
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up after firing on worshippers inside the mosque, a Herat provincial spokesman told CNN.
ISIS took responsibility for the attack Wednesday in a series of messages sent to Telegram channels associated with the group.
The all-girl robotics team flew to the United States in July to take part in an international competition with students from nearly 160 countries.
But the journey to compete wasn’t easy. Team members had their visa applications to travel to the United States denied twice and were only saved after direct intervention from President Donald Trump.
They were allowed to enter on a temporary “parole” status, two senior administration officials told CNN at the time.
At the competition, the team received the silver medal in the Rajaâ Cherkaoui el Moursli Award for Courageous Achievement.
In addition, the girls were given congressional records detailing their journey to America by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
“You are an inspiration to all of us,” the New Hampshire Democrat told them.
Attack condemned as ‘deplorable’
Writing Thursday on Twitter, Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, said his heart went out to Fatima for the loss of her father.
“We will defeat the forces trying to dismantle our future,” he wrote.
The US Embassy in Afghanistan condemned the attack Thursday as “deplorable.”
“We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed and injured,” a statement said. “We commend the government and security forces … for their response to this latest act of cowardly violence.”
Tuesday’s bombing was among a series of recent deadly attacks on civilians and armed forces in Afghanistan by terrorist groups.
On Wednesday, two US service members were killed when a NATO convoy came under fire in Kandahar province.
Two Afghan workers at the Iraqi Embassy were killed Monday in Kabul when gunmen attempted to storm the building after blowing open the gate.
In late May, more than 150 people were killed in a bombing in the center of Kabul’s diplomatic quarter during rush hour.