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

Those emotions morphed into elation as Qaderian and her teammates boarded a plane at Kabul International Airport on Friday morning en route to next week's competition, having been granted visas thanks to last-minute intervention by the Trump administration.

The third time's the charm for Afghanistan's all girl robotics team, who will be allowed entry into the U.S.to compete in a competition after President Donald Trump personally intervened to reverse a decision twice denying them enter into the country. But Mohib said that based on discussions with USA officials, it appears the girls were rebuffed due to concerns they would not return to Afghanistan.

But the U.S. president urged a reversal following public outcry over the Afghan girls' inability to attend the event.

However, the US State Department had earlier declined to comment on why the Afghan team's visa applications were denied, saying that "all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with USA law". The girls spent six months building their robot, the AP reports, often working six days a week - and then they had to persuade their parents to let them go, in a country that often discourages girls in science and math.

Neither the president nor anyone on the White House staff have provided an official explanation as to why the team's visa applications were rejected twice, but critics cited Trump's travel ban - partially reinstated by the Supreme Court in late June - as the likely cause.

The team's robot can sort balls, recognize blue and orange, and move objects to their proper places, according to the AP. He said 10 percent of Afghans who are awarded temporary visas for academic purposes in the United States or Europe defy immigration rules to remain there permanently.

HRW explained that, previously, the team would have been relegated to competing via Skype while their hardware made it into the United States. Several years ago, Shaheen said, 12 female university lecturers won scholarships to obtain master's degrees in economics in Germany.

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 US -led military invasion.

"Despite all the doom and gloom I have about what the situation is in Afghanistan and how unfair it was, at the end of the day, in this moment I'm just thrilled to bits that six girls are going to Washington", Barr said.

The ordeal has a happy ending but still meant an arduous, emotional journey for the team. "It's an important step for Afghan women". Teams from over 150 countries will be participating.

"We want to take the message of peace to America and convey that Afghanistan is not only the country of war, and there are girls who chase their dreams in robots and education", added Fatema Qaderyan. "I truly believe our greatest power is the power to convene nations, to bring people together in the pursuit of a common goal and prove that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences", Joe Sestak, the president of First Global, was quoted as saying by AP. "Go girls!", tweeted U.S State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.


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