Here's The Afghan Girls' Robotics Team Gleefully Showing Off Their US Visas

Michele Moreno
July 16, 2017

The six-girl team and their chaperone completed their journey just after midnight from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, to enter their ball-sorting robot in the three-day high school competition starting Sunday in the US capital.

Following backlash from human rights and political activists, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is allowing an Afghan all-girl robotics team to temporarily visit the United States and compete in an global robotics competition taking place in Washington, D.C., next week, Politico reports.

"We worked hard and spent a lot of time", said Qaderian, who flew back and forth with her teammates from their hometown in western Afghanistan to apply at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Trump intervened to find a way to permit the girls entry, the AP reports.

"The President of the United States and the people of America supported us in this case, which shows that they have not forgotten us", one competitor, Yasamin Yasinzadah told AFP at the airport in Herat.

Mehraban said the girls were selected from among 150 aspiring engineers in Herat, a sprawling province that borders Iran and has been among the more stable parts of Afghanistan in the 16 years since the USA -led military invasion.

There isn't an explanation as to why the team was initially rebuffed, but they are now bound for the event thanks to the DHS allowing them to have "parole" status, which means they can enter the United States precisely because of the public benefit their mere presence would garner for the nation, via the report.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Twice rejected for US visas, an all-girls robotics team from Afghanistan arrived in Washington early Saturday after an extraordinary, last-minute intervention by President Donald Trump.

"Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all", Mohib told reporters. Teams from over 150 countries will be participating. "Go girls!", tweeted State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. If the girls had not been able to attend, they would have watched their robot, which was cleared for entry to the United States, compete over Skype. "They are future leaders of Afghanistan and strong ambassadors for their country".

It points to a Human Rights Watch report from July 7 that highlights the team's efforts to visit the USA and enter the competition.

The girls are working on a robot that can sort balls, which will compete against 163 other machines in a tournament called the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Mehraban says: "It's a happy moment for our team".

Other reports by Insurance News

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