‘It’s Now or Never’: US Mom Flies Halfway Around the World to Rescue 10 Members of Afghan All-Girl Robotics Team

If you don’t think there are any heroes who took action to save lives right before the Afghanistan debacle, think again. 

An Oklahoma mother of 11 took it upon herself to rescue 10 members of Afghanistan’s all-girls robotics team. She flew to Qatar earlier this month to try to get some of the girls to safety before the Taliban surprised the Biden administration by swiftly taking over the entire war-torn country. 

What’s even more amazing is Allison Reneau is hoping to save even more girls before the Taliban, known for their brutal treatment of women and religious minorities, have free rein to implement totalitarian Islamic sharia law. 

NBC News reports Reneau, a 60-year-old Harvard graduate, took it upon herself to try and save members of the girls’ robotic team.

She had been in touch with the team of girls ages 16 to 18 since meeting them as a board member for Explore Mars at the organization’s annual Humans to Mars conference in 2019.  The team had been recognized as the future of Afghanistan and was an example of how far women’s rights had come since the U.S. liberation following the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

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Reneau told NBC News she “couldn’t shake” the feeling that the girls were in danger while watching the news of the advancing insurgent army in early August. She called Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, but that “lead went cold” when the senator became “overwhelmed with the need to help our American citizens.”

Deciding to try by herself, she got on an airplane headed to the Middle East where she landed in Qatar, which is still thousands of miles away from Afghanistan. But she had a friend that could help. 

“I remembered my former roommate in D.C. a couple of years ago was transferred to Qatar,” she explained. “She worked in the U.S. Embassy in Qatar… she was sure her boss would approve helping the girls.”

“She wrote up a request, and I got all of their passports together,” Reneau said. “She went back to the Embassy at midnight and worked all night to prepare the documents and packets for the girls.”

“It’s a very narrow window of opportunity,” she told NBC News. “I knew that if I didn’t run through that door now — it’s now or never. Sometimes you only get one chance.”

Thankfully, all 10 girls were able to make it to the American-held side of Kabul’s airport and boarded a plane.  

“Several members of the girls’ Afghan robotics team have safely arrived in Doha, Qatar, from Kabul, Afghanistan,” a statement from the Digital Citizen Fund (DCF) and Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday. 

The girls were taken to a secure location and will continue to pursue higher education.

Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown, a board member on the DCF told NBC News, “Ultimately the girls ‘rescued’ themselves. If it were not for their hard work and courage to pursue an education, which brought them in contact with the world, they would still be trapped. We need to continue to support them and others like them.”

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