Afghan Girls Robotics Team Allowed In By Trump Arrives In US
Jul 16 2017
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.
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 worldwide robotics competition taking place in Washington, D.C., next week, Politico reports.
The girls will receive their visas after being told President Donald Trump personally intervened to reverse a decision by the U.S. State Department, says team manager Alireza Mehraban.
"The girls' story has also renewed the focus on the longer-term USA 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 US has been fighting since 2001".
"Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all", Mohib said in an interview.
The reason seems to be President Donald Trump, as reported by CNN, has intervened on their behalf to ensure they make the global robotics event that welcomes teams from over 150 countries.
A team of Afghan girls who had been denied visas to attend a Washington robotics competition spoke of Donald Trump's support Thursday after United States authorities changed course and allowed them to come. 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.
First Global president Joe Sestak - who had previously expressed his disappointment in the girls' visa denial - has commended the United States government for overturning the ban.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert would not divulge why this team alone ran into issues, citing the confidentiality of the process. "They are future leaders of Afghanistan and strong ambassadors for their country".
The six members of Afghanistan's all-girls robotics team arrived at Kabul airport from their home in Herat in western Afghanistan.
"It's a happy moment for our team", Mehraban told the AP.
The team manager, Alireza Mehraban, said the girls did not stop working on their entries after the visa denials, hoping they would be allowed to travel eventually - or ship the robots to the USA for the competition.