Afghan girl roboticists granted U.S. visas

  • Afghan girl roboticists granted U.S. visas

Afghan girl roboticists granted U.S. visas

But following a global outcry over the Afghan girls' case, Trump intervened and reportedly urged USA authorities to reverse the decision, according to White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Girls from 160 countries, according to the report, would attend the contest to show their abilities and Afghan girls would demonstrate their talents in making robots at the event, reports Xinhua news agency.

The girls were so keen that, when the equipment they were to use to build their starting robots was delayed, they practiced with the limited materials they could assemble.

The girls in the Afghanistan robotics team were never going to let their hardships prevent them from entering their ball-sorting robot into the competition next week.

A senior administration official said Donald Trump then raised the issue with his security advisor while at the G20 summit in Germany, and asked if there were additional measures that could've been taken. "They are future leaders of Afghanistan and strong ambassadors for their country", Powell added.

The US State Department had declined to comment on why the Afghan team's visa applications were initially denied, saying that "all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with US law".

The girls' applications for US visas had been denied twice. As Forbes reported, even though Afghanistan is not one of the countries mentioned in Trump's partially reinstated travel ban, the rate of visas approved from the country in recent months have been low. Teams from Syria, Iran and Sudan - countries that are part of the order - were granted visas.

FIRST Global President Joe Sestak told CNN that the Afghan girls were contacted a few days ago by the American embassy in Afghanistan and informed of the alternative route for getting travel approval. While the Afghan robotics team is now a feel-good story, the ban is still throwing thousands of peoples' lives in disarray, including many in the tech community.

The competition organised by non-profit group First Global will see teams from 164 countries compete in a series of robotic games.

But now they'll get to watch up close as their robot goes head to head in the competition against teams from almost 160 other countries.

First Global aims to promote Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Joining a chorus of those who welcomed the reversal, his daughter Ivanka posted on Twitter "I look forward to welcoming this brilliant team of Afghan girls, and their competitors, to Washington DC next week!"