National Robotics Team Gets Red Carpet Welcome In US

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National Robotics Team Gets Red Carpet Welcome In US

They left Herat for Kabul, and boarded a plane to Washington on Friday.

US President Donald Trump intervened to clear visas for a group of Afghan girls who were planning to participate in a robotics competition. But Mohib said that based on discussions with USA officials, it appears the girls were rebuffed due to concerns they would not return to Afghanistan.

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. Trump's personal intervention earlier in the week using a rare "parole" mechanism to sidestep the visa system ended a dramatic saga in which the team twice traveled from their home in western Afghanistan through largely Taliban-controlled territory to Kabul, where their visa applications were denied twice. Some pushed back against the speculation and pointed out that Afghanistan is not included in the list of six countries targeted by the president's executive order.

In the short time since their visa dilemma drew global attention, the girls' case has become a flashpoint in the debate about Trump's efforts to tighten entrance to the US, including from many majority-Muslim countries. It is still unclear why the applications were rejected in the first place. 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.

"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.

"Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all", Mohib said in an interview. The decision would allow the six girls from the war-torn country into the U.S., along with their chaperones, so they can participate in the competition.

Competing against entrants from more than 150 countries, the girls will present a robot they devised that can recognize blue and orange and sort balls into correct locations.

"It's a happy moment for our team", Mehraban told the AP. "It's an important step for Afghan women".

"We want to take the message of peace to America and convey that Afghanistan is not only the country of war, and there are girls who chase their dreams in robots and education", added Fatema Qaderyan.

"I truly believe our greatest power is the power to convene nations, to bring people together in the pursuit of a common goal and prove that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences", he said. "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 global competition this year".

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