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Father of Afghan Girls Robotics Team Leader Killed in Suicide Attack

  • VOA Staff

Relatives inspect the damage after an overnight suicide attack at a mosque in Herat, Afghanistan, Aug. 2, 2017.

The captain of a team of Afghan schoolgirls who captured the world's attention at a U.S. robotics competition has suffered the loss of her father in a deadly suicide attack on a Shi'ite mosque in the city of Herat, a provincial governor's spokesman said.

Mohammad Asif Qaderyan was wounded and later died after two suicide bombers detonated grenades in a packed mosque. The attack, which was claimed by Islamic State, killed 32 other worshippers, including children, and wounded more than 60 others.

WATCH: Daughter talks about loss of her father in suicide attack

Qaderyan's 14 year-old daughter, Fatemah Qaderyan, was a member of a team that was initially denied visas to enter the U.S. to compete in the International Robot Olympics for High School Students in Washington.

The team was eventually allowed to enter the U.S. and participate in last month's competition after the reported intervention of President Donald Trump, a champion of restrictions on immigration.

The girls earned a silver medal and were celebrated throughout Washington as a symbol of aspiration for Afghanistan, which has been in the grips of war for nearly 40 years.

Afghanistan's FIRST Global Challenge team member Lida Azizi, left, and Fatemah Qaderyan meet with reporters following the opening ceremony in Washington, July 16, 2017.
Afghanistan's FIRST Global Challenge team member Lida Azizi, left, and Fatemah Qaderyan meet with reporters following the opening ceremony in Washington, July 16, 2017.

Fatemah's older brother, Mohammad Reza, said his sister is having a hard time coping with their father's death.

"We are all devastated. Fatema has not eaten or spoken since the incident, and is in a state of shock. Today, after she fainted several times, doctors started IV fluid therapy," he said.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said the deadly attack was the fifth this year against the minority Shi'ite community in the country.

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