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Lawyer for Afghan ladies’ robotics team tells Oklahoma woman to slay taking credit for rescue



Nationwide

By Sarah Ellison and Elahe Izadi, Washington Post

A licensed authentic for the celebrated all-ladies Afghan robotics team has sent a slay-and-desist letter to an Oklahoma woman, telling her to slay taking credit for the ladies’ escape from Kabul and warning that her a mountainous different of media appearances endanger their organization’s final contributors in Afghanistan.

The lady, Allyson Reneau, spoke final week to This day.com and then to several other media retailers, telling a story of her supposed involvement within the evacuation of several contributors of the robotics team, known internationally as the “Afghan Dreamers.” These retailers reported that she had “saved” the ladies from doable oppression below the Taliban.

But a licensed authentic for the team’s guardian organization, the Digital Citizen Fund, talked about that Reneau has overstated her role and has, if fact be told, assign the ladies and their households in risk as a result of her repeated claims are undermining ongoing rescue efforts within the nation.

“Continuingly recycling light pictures with the Afghan Ladies Robotics Crew, quite so a lot of whom are minors, as validation that you had the rest to manufacture with their immensely tense and awful escape no longer most inviting impacts the security of the ladies but it certainly also critically affects the security of the contributors of the team who peaceable remain in Afghanistan,” wrote Kim Motley, a licensed authentic for the group and a Digital Citizen Fund board member, in a letter sent to Reneau correct after heart of the evening Wednesday. “It’s a ways extremely miserable that you will use the kind of tragically defective scenario . . . for what appears to be like to be your have private develop.”

A spokesman for the Qatari International Ministry, which helped evacuate many Afghans, at the side of the robotics team contributors, also accused Reneau of taking credit for a rescue she had microscopic to manufacture with – and lambasted the U.S. media for making her a “White savior.”

Reneau denied that she has accomplished the rest but show the fact. “‘I’m above board, and whereas you happen to don’t show the fact, then you definately create no longer hold the rest to account for for it,” she told The Washington Post in a cellular phone interview Wednesday. She talked about she became once perplexed but undeterred by the “blowback” against her efforts.

“The attention I’ve gotten has allowed me to back other Afghan females, so I don’t peer any reason within the wait on of me to slay,” she talked about.

The dispute underscores how refined it is to slay a media story once it begins to unfold, in particular in a snappily-transferring and chaotic story equivalent to the one unfolding in Afghanistan, where data retailers are hungry for developments and feel-beautiful tales.

How Reneau grew to change into designated as a supposed hero of this particular evacuation started on Aug. 19, correct days after the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan, when This day.com published a story dramatically titled, “Oklahoma mom of 11 helps rescue 10 ladies on Afghanistan’s robotics team.”

The story talked about that Reneau – an entrepreneur who graduated from Harvard’s extension faculty in 2016 and serves on the board of the Mars Stumble on basis – had met about a of the ladies at a 2019 field exploration convention within the District of Columbia and then saved fervent with them.

Unable to sleep as the Taliban evolved all thru Afghanistan, Reneau talked about, she resolved to rep the ladies out despite the fact that it meant flying internationally. “I made up our minds that Monday, I’m correct going to flee to Qatar – take care of a soar of faith – and peer what I’m in a position to manufacture,” she told This day.

In spite of the entirety, Reneau didn’t rep on the plane. She told This day that, as an different, she contacted an light roommate who worked within the U.S. Embassy in Qatar and the two worked to stable paperwork for the ladies’ exit from Afghanistan.

The This day story became once substantially rewritten, with a account for added on the bottom, after it became once published – taking the focus off Reneau and quoting a board member of the robotics team’s guardian organization: “Finally the ladies ‘rescued’ themselves.” But the story of a plucky Oklahoma mom rapid unfold all thru other media.

CNN’s Brianna Keilar interviewed Reneau, telling her, “This if fact be told is an out of the ordinary story that I judge quite so a lot of People who’re feeling helpless and wish to manufacture one thing, they need to hear this.” So did an NBC affiliate in Oklahoma. “I correct had a tremendous, dreadful feeling that they hold been in quite so a lot of hazard,” Reneau told the Oklahoma situation.

An Oklahoma woman helped evacuate 10 ladies on the Afghanistan all-ladies robotics team.

“I knew … it would require some beautiful noteworthy other folks, which is somewhat above my pay grade and my network. But I correct couldn’t sit down on my hands and fabricate nothing,” Allyson Reneau talked about. pic.twitter.com/pLjz8PioHp

— New Day (@NewDay) August 20, 2021

The New York Post inaccurately wrote that Reneau if fact be told had flown to Qatar. So did the Wall Avenue Journal editorial online page, which suggested that President Joe Biden assign “this out of the ordinary woman” to blame of the Afghanistan evacuation – sooner than correcting the editorial to account for that Reneau had no longer flown anyplace. (Reneau told The Washington Post that she by no approach represented that she went to Qatar.)

The story became once also picked up by the Day to day Mail, Industry Insider and loads native TV affiliates and out of the country retailers, quite so a lot of which first and main made microscopic designate of the mandatory role of non-People within the ladies’ rescue.

Qatar coordinated the evacuation at once with representatives of the Digital Citizen Fund, the robotics team’s guardian organization, talked about Qatari International Ministry spokesman Ibrahim AlHashmi.

Roya Mahboob, an Afghan industry executive and founder of the Digital Citizen Fund, contacted a Qatari diplomat in regards to the ladies on Aug. 13. Days later, the ladies met with that govt’s ambassador to Afghanistan “in a stable predicament,” AlHashmi talked about. “He escorted them safely to the airport, where they hold been evacuated to Doha in a plane arranged by Qatar’s defense pressure.”

He talked about the Qatari govt by no approach worked with Reneau or heard from the U.S. Embassy about her. (A spokesperson for the Articulate Division talked about the agency would possibly presumably well no longer affirm particulars of particular person conditions, citing privateness issues.)

“She took the agency from the ladies and he or she claimed credit,” AlHashmi talked about. “The media let her be a White savior, claiming the ladies hold been saved by her. They came to world attention as a result of their work . . . so it desires to be about them and their braveness and the work they’ve accomplished. This desires to be the story that the media is specializing in, no longer a lady who is thousands of miles away who is claiming credit.”

The robotics team has been internationally celebrated for years, and the destiny of the contributors below the returning Taliban has been tracked by many retailers, at the side of the The Washington Post, NBC Files and the New York Instances – which broke the facts of the ladies’ exit from Afghanistan in an Aug. 19 story that made no designate of Reneau.

But no matter the framing,the media attention on their escape has introduced about recent dangers and underscored the issues of getting inclined other folks out of Afghanistan.

Afghans assuredly hold ample households, and the Taliban targets relations left within the wait on of, talked about Arash Azizzada, an Afghan neighborhood organizer in Los Angeles who has been fervent with evacuation efforts.

“Relations of the robotics team hold been fervent with me, asking me for aid with evacuating their prolonged family for the reason that media protection has now assign them in hazard and so that they’re in point of fact fearing retribution by the Taliban,” Azizzada talked about.

Reneau – who became once previously on the This day Point to in 2011 (“Mom of 11 heads off to Harvard“) – got on This day.com’s radar when one her Facebook posts in regards to the robotics teams became once forwarded to a author there.

Mahboob then confirmed to This day.com that contributors of the team had met Reneau within the previous and that the ladies made it out of Afghanistan.But she talked about she by no approach confirmed that Reneau played a central role within the evacuation.

“I am talking with so many of us that narrate they need to toughen my program,” Mahboob talked about thru tears, “but nobody else . . . then takes credit and makes it a story about themselves.”

Reneau talked about she by no approach sought the limelight. “I got into this entire deal to rescue other folks. That became once my purpose. I didn’t need it to flip correct into a media circus,” Reneau talked about. “It’s no longer about me being superwoman; it’s about these ladies.”

No longer the total Afghan robotics team contributors are in one other nation. And in subsequent media appearances, Reneau has talked about she is peaceable working to rep extra inclined females out, whereas also noting the work of the Qatari govt and others. A Facebook fundraiser entitled Afghan Ladies Rescue Fund has raised greater than $50,000 with cash going to Reneau’s nonprofit organization. Reneau talked about that every person in every of the funds raised will mosey to the ladies who hold left the nation but isn’t obvious rep them the cash yet, given the dispute with their guardian organization.

She talked about has been inundated with requests from Afghan females since her media tour and is working with a light NASA overall counsel and a Yale Law College team, and has “an extraction team on the bottom” in Afghanistan. “I’m no longer going to mosey away one within the wait on of,” she told conservative focus on-account for host Glenn Beck on Tuesday. “The one thing I’m lacking is planes.”

Beck, who has an organization working on evacuating Christians and other non secular minorities from the nation, talked about he would possibly presumably well present the planes if she gets evacuees to the tarmac.

“We’re People, and we figure it out, don’t we, Glenn?” Reneau answered.

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The Washington Post’s Alice Crites contributed to this document.

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