Afghan Girls Robotics Team Land In US After Visa U-Turn

A members of a female robotics team from Herat province, shows her US Visa as she leaves Kabul to the US from Kabul Airport on Friday.

After being denied entry twice, an Afghan all-girls robotics team arrived in the US early Saturday morning, one gleefully flashing her recently-granted visa at cameras.

All six girls packed into a small taxicab to head to the U.S. Embassy with their passports in hand to get their U.S. visa.

Conway retweeted a story about how early Saturday morning, the Afghani girls - who were twice denied entry to the country by the State Department for reasons that haven't yet been specified - finally arrived in Washington DC to participate in an global competition. Afghanistan isn't one of the six countries targeted by President Trump's travel ban.

It remains unclear why their visa were initially rejected, but the US administration has imposed a travel ban on most people from six predominantly Muslim countries including Syria and Yemen, but not Afghanistan. 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.

"It's not as if he heard the story of these Afghan girls and said to himself, Huh, maybe I was wrong about needing a 'total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,'" Bosch continues. The young engineers will be allowed entry under a protocol known as "parole", in which they will not be given formal visas but can remain in the United States for no more than 10 days.

"Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all", said Afghan Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib.

A student team from Gambia also was granted visas last week after initially being rejected.

The girls go to three different high schools in Afghanistan and will be traveling with their team manager, Alireza Mehraban. The decision by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services means the six girls from the war-torn country will be allowed in, along with their chaperone, so they can participate in the competition. "It's an important step for Afghan women". "That is why I am most grateful to the U.S. Government and its State Department for ensuring Afghanistan, as well as Gambia, would be able to join us for this worldwide competition this year".

"We just wanted to show the power and skills of Afghan girls to Americans".

  • Rogelio Becker