Father of Afghan robotics team member killed in mosque explosion

Fatima Qaderyan, a member of a female robotics team from Afghanistan, arrives home in Herat, Afghanistan on July 25, 2017 after participating in the FIRST Global international robotics competition at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington. According to reports, Qaderyan's father was killed in Tuesday's suicide attack on a mosque in Herat. Photo by Jalil Rezayee/EPA

Aug. 3 (UPI) — The father of an Afghan girl who participated in July’s global robotics contest in Washington, D.C., was among at least 36 who died in a mosque bombing, officials confirmed Thursday.

Mohammad Asif Qaderyan was among those who died when a Shiite mosque in Herat, Afghanistan, was attacked Tuesday during evening prayers. Two people sprayed the mosque with bullets before detonating suicide bombs. The Islamic State took responsibility for the incident.

Qaderyan’s daughter, Fatima Qaderyan, 15, made headlines when the members of her six-person, all-female team of robotics builders from Herat were denied visas to attend the First Global Challenge, attended by teenage teams from more than 150 countries, in Washington. She pointed out at the time her team was prepared to attend the event to show than Afghan girls have dreams involving education and technology. After the involvement of President Donald Trump, the State Department relented and permitted the team entry to the United States.

The Afghan team won a silver medal for “courageous achievement,” with judges honoring its “can-do attitude.”

The attack in Herat on Tuesday injured at least 60 people, the latest in attacks on minority Shiite communities in Afghanistan. The Islamic State has taken responsibility for a number of attacks in the past year, notably two explosions in July 2016 that killed at least 85 Shiite Hazaras, and injuring over 400 more, in Kabul.

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