News Worms
News Worms


Robotics team heads to US

Robotics team heads to US

Members of a female robotics team from Herat province, leave Kabul to the USA from Kabul Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Jun 14, 2017.

The girls' applications for USA visas had been denied twice, but the White House says President Donald Trump intervened and they will be allowed in to participate in the competition. Two previous attempts to secure visas, which involved traveling 500 miles to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, had failed.

The girls' story has also renewed the focus on the longer-term US plans for aiding Afghanistan's future, as Trump's administration prepares a new military strategy that will include sending more troops to the country where the USA has been fighting since 2001.

State Department officials said that the Afghan girls' visas were granted through "parole", a process designed for applicants whose entry to the U.S.is based on humanitarian or "public benefit" grounds.

U.S. authorities had originally refused access to schoolchildren from a number of Muslim-majority nations to participate in the science contest, decisions that followed implementation of stricter visa policies under Trump.

HRW explained that, previously, the team would have been relegated to competing via Skype while their hardware made it into the United States.

The U.S. won't say why the girls were rejected for visas, citing confidentiality.

"Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all", Mohib told reporters. As per a report by AP, girls' applications for USA visas had been denied twice.

"It's a happy moment for our team", Mehraban told the AP.

Organizer Ali Reza Mehraban of the Digital Citizen Foundation said the decision meant "supporting peace and women of Afghanistan, who have been deprived of everything for the past forty years".

"We just wanted to show the power and skills of Afghan girls to Americans". Teams from over 150 countries will be participating.

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. "I honestly believe the greatest power of America is the power to convene, to bring together nations and see their differences are so much less than what they have in common".

State Department officials do not comment on individual visa cases, but experts speculated that consular officers could have denied the visas out of concern that the girls could attempt to remain in the United States.

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