Afghan robotics team that escaped from Kabul orders Oklahoma woman to STOP bragging that she saved them
An Oklahoma mother who bragged about rescuing 10 Afghan girls from the besieged country has “dramatically compromised the safety of the children,” a lawyer representing the group said.
Allyson Reneau, a Harvard graduate with a master’s degree in international relations, shared with Today a gripping story about flying to Qatar and spending a sleepless night at the US embassy preparing the necessary papers to help plan the girls’ escape.
Reneau — who was on the board of Explore Mars when the organization brought the Afghan Girls Robotic Team to the 2019 annual Humans to Mars conference — said she spent two weeks working at the US embassy in Kabul.
Ultimately, she said, she helped the girls through “the US military side” of the Kabul airport, where they were protected from the Taliban.
The seemingly feel-good story is not a reflection of how the rescue actually went, an Afghan Girls Robotics Team lawyer said in a letter of termination to Reneau on Wednesday.
Allyson Reneau shared her story of rescuing 10 girls from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to media outlets such as Today and CNN
Her claims helping the Afghan Girls Robotics Team are false, a lawyer representing the group said
The letter of termination stated that Reneau’s ‘false statements have dramatically endangered the security of the Afghan Girls Robotics Team’
The letter ordered Reneau to stop claiming to be affiliated with the Afghan Girls Robotic Team, or suggesting that she had played a part in the reported escape.
“It is very unfortunate that you are using such a tragically dire situation as Afghanistan is literally imploding from within for what appears to be your own personal gain,” the team’s lawyer, Kimberly Motley, wrote in the letter.
“In addition, the government of Qatar has confirmed that they have no idea who you are and that you were not involved in any material way with the girls who left Afghanistan. It is illegal for a person to make intentional statements that harm the safety of a person without factual evidence or based on rumour. Your false statements have dramatically endangered the safety of the Afghan Girls Robotics team in and out of Afghanistan.”
Motley said Reneau used recycled, old photos to imply she had “something to do with their hugely stressful and dangerous” escape.
Reneau, who worked with the robotics team in 2019, used old and recycled photos to imply she was still associated with the group, says ceasefire lawsuit
Reneau shared her claims about saving the girls from the Taliban takeover during a recent media blitz
According to her, this had consequences for the safety of the escaped girls and the members of the robotics team who remain behind in Afghanistan.
“We have communicated with you repeatedly to stop spreading false information and yet you continue,” Motley said.
Reneau shared her own account of the experience on a media circuit, saying she and a team in the Middle East were still trying to help 25 additional robot team members.
‘To be [a] very slim chance,” she said of rescuing the first group of girls. “I knew if I didn’t run through that door now, it’s now or never. Sometimes you only get one chance.’
The rescue claim came after the Taliban took over Afghanistan following the US’s departure from the war-torn country. The chaotic departure sparked fear, violence and chaos, with some Afghans clinging to the outside of the departing military plane in a desperate attempt to escape.
Motley told Dailymail.com it was not clear which girls Reneau claimed to be saving.
“One group in Mexico wasn’t even in Afghanistan when everything collapsed, they were in Pakistan,” she said. ‘And another group is in Qatar. And others are in Afghanistan.”
Reneau, who served on the board of Explore Mars when the organization flew the Afghan Girls Robotic Team to its annual Humans to Mars conference in 2019
This isn’t the first time the Reneau has been in the spotlight.
She first made headlines in 2011, when she returned to college 30 years after dropping out of college to raise her 11 children.
She enrolled at Harvard University at age 50 and traveled more than 3,000 miles a week for three years to earn her master’s degree in international business relations.
Before graduating in May 2016, she studied piano at Julliard, the renowned private conservatory of the performing arts in New York City.
Reneau’s dissertation on United States space policy has been awarded and published several times. She was nominated as Harvard Emerging Leader of the Year 2019.
Kimberly Motley, an international human rights lawyer who represents the Afghan Girls Robotics team, sent Reneau a letter requesting that he no longer take credit for the rescue.
The Afghan Girls Robotics Team was founded by the Digital Citizens Fund, which aims to provide education and technology to girls around the world who would otherwise not have access to quality education.
Elizabeth Schaffer Brown, board member of the Digital Citizens Fund, released a statement to Dailymail.com in response to Reneau’s claims about Afghanistan.
“Right now the focus and focus should be on the girls,” she said. “It is their achievements and courage that have won the hearts of so many. They are the heroes. They have lived at risk for years.’
Reneau did not respond to a request for comment.