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Afghan Girls Robotics Team Allowed To Enter US For Competition

Afghan Girls Robotics Team Allowed To Enter US For Competition

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.

After being denied entry twice, an Afghan all-girls robotics team arrived in the USA early Saturday morning, one gleefully flashing her recently-granted visa at cameras. Two previous attempts to secure visas, which involved traveling 500 miles to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, had failed.

Trump only "acted" after the girls' visas had been denied twice, and the story had brought bad publicity to his Muslim ban.

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.

Left unmentioned by Conway is the fact the Trump administration is now fighting in federal court to implement a travel ban that would bar nationals of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

However, when Trump came to know about the case, he intervened and chose to grant the visas to the girls. 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. As per a report by AP, girls' applications for U.S. visas had been denied twice. When their visas were refused, they planned to compete via Skype.

"Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all", Mohib said in an interview.

Over 160 countries will attend the worldwide robotics challenge which will be held in Washington from July 16.

The ordeal has a happy ending but still meant an arduous, emotional journey for the team.

"We continued working on our robots to show that Afghan girls are capable of doing big things", Mehraban said.

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

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. Gambia's team, which designed a robot to clean contaminated rivers, also faced visa problems but was permitted last week to travel to the U.S.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert would not divulge why this team alone ran into issues, citing the confidentiality of the process.