A waitress robot, named Timea, delivers food to customers at a fast food restaurant in Kabul on Thursday. AFP
A restaurant in war-torn Afghanistan is offering the citizens something to cheer about. It has deployed first-ever robot waitress to serve the customers.
The robo waitress glides up to a table of curious diners in central Kabul and presents them with a plate of French fries.
And it is not only serving the diners but is also thanking them in Afghanistan's Dari language.
The humanoid robot, imported from Japan and designed to look vaguely like a women wearing a hijab, has already pulled in new customers since it started working last month.
"It is interesting for many people here to see a robot in real life," says restaurant manager Mohammad Rafi Shirzad.
"Sometimes kids jump in joy and surprise when they see the robot bring them food."
While robots are becoming increasingly commonplace in Japan and China, they are not unusual in conflict-wracked Afghanistan.
Nine-year-old Ahmad Zaki was desperate to see the machine.
"I saw the robot on TV, and asked my father to take me to this restaurant," he said.
Named "Timea" and measuring about 150 centimetres in height, the robot performs only rudimentary tasks.
It delivers plates to tables, which diners then take from a tray, and can say basic phrases including "Happy Birthday."
It also can stop when it comes across an obstacle, and customers can place orders via a touch panel.
But the story is not without controversy.
Some Afghans see Timea as a threat to the country's dire unemployment situation.
"This is ridiculously wrong," Facebook user Kashif Abobaker wrote.
"They employ a robot when there are tens of thousands of young people desperately looking for a job."
A plume of smoke rose over central Kabul shortly after midnight and sirens could be heard. Inside the embassy, employees heard this message over the loudspeaker: "An explosion caused by a rocket has occurred on compound."
Green Village is separate from the nearby Green Zone, a walled-off and heavily fortified part of Kabul that is home to several embassies including the US and British facilities.
Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry also says three other soldiers were wounded in Thursday's attack in the Chahar Asyab district in Kabul province.
Sources familiar with the details of the accident said that it occurred on Monday afternoon, as a result of a malfunction in the bus's brakes, which led it to collide with a bridge, according to local media.
Mariam Al Kaabi, UAE Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the Arab League, represented the UAE during the signing ceremony.
They prayed to Allah Almighty to perpetuate the blessings of security and stability, and to revisit the fasting month with more goodness, progress, and prosperity for the UAE and its people.
Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter, “Today, I was briefed, accompanied by my brother, the President of the State, may God preserve him, on the ongoing preparations in the country to host the COP28 Conference of the Parties, in which 70,000 people from 198 countries are expected to participate. Our national team is ready. Protect the planet.”