Friday, 22 September, 2017

Afghan all-girl robotics team gains entry to the United States

Afghan girls fly to US for robotics fair Team Afghanistan – FIRST Global
Christy Curtis | 16 July, 2017, 00:37

"We were disappointed, and we were feeling bad, but now we are very happy that they have given us a chance to go", 14-year-old Fatemah Qaderyan told Reuters as the girls arrived in Kabul on Friday, bags packed for their trip to Washington, D.C.

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 global robotics competition taking place in Washington, D.C., next week, Politico reports. 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.

Sestak noted that teams from Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Syria - all Muslim-majority countries affected by President Trump's executive order restricting entry to the United States - were granted visas for the competition.

State Department officials said that the Afghan girls' visas were granted through "parole", a process designed for applicants whose entry to the U.S.is based on humanitarian or "public benefit" grounds. Afghanistan isn't one of the six countries targeted by President Trump's travel ban.

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 USA, including from many majority-Muslim countries. 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.

"Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all", Mohib told reporters.

Mehraban said it had been especially hard to find girls in deeply conservative, war-torn Afghanistan whose families would allow them to take part. "Go girls!", tweeted State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. Then to apply for visas, they traveled twice to Kabul - site of a bombing on May 31 that killed 150 people - and their applications were rejected. "They are future leaders of Afghanistan and strong ambassadors for their country".

"Despite all the doom and gloom I have about what the situation is in Afghanistan and how unfair it was, at the end of the day, in this moment I'm just thrilled to bits that six girls are going to Washington", Barr said.

According to the American media report, the United States has finally given visa to young girls of Afghanistan to participate in a contest that creates robots.

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