All-girl Afghan robotics team cleared to compete in United States

Donald Trump intervenes personally, clears visa for Afghan girls heading for robotics event in US

Donald Trump intervenes personally, clears visa for Afghan girls heading for robotics event in US

On Tuesday, U.S congressman Joe Courtney and congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici sent a letter signed by 53 members of the United States House of Representatives to the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to issue visas for the girls.

However, Afghans are often rejected for USA entry because there is a concern they will overstay their visas and refuse to go back home.

Organizer Ali Reza Mehraban of the Digital Citizen Foundation said the decision meant "supporting peace and women of Afghanistan, who have been deprived of everything for the past forty years".

"I look forward to welcoming this brilliant team of Afghan girls, and their competitors, to Washington D.C. next week!"

Officials may have been wary of granting visas to the girls for fear that they would end up staying in the US, as other students and academics on temporary visas have done before. "When we heard that we were rejected we lost hope", said 14-year-old Sumaya Farooqi.

"We are so happy from the support of the Americans and Mr. Trump, and we thank them for providing us visas to allow us to travel and attend the competitions", Qaderyan said. The Taliban were ousted by the US -led coalition in 2001.

Mehraban says: "It's a happy moment for our team".

Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative nation and while girls are in school today, gaining rights for women and girls is still a struggle for many. He credited "the professional leadership of the U.S. State Department" for ensuring that all 163 teams from 157 countries, including a team of Syrian refugees, would be able to participate.

The Afghan girls will now face off against 159 other national teams with their robot, which had to be quickly assembled in a matter of weeks, as some components were held by customs over fears that they would be used as materials for ISIS.

Their manager, Alireza Mehraban, piled their luggage and himself into a second taxicab, while at the airport workers and passengers wondered at the media attention the girls were receiving, unaware of their identities.

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

As reminded in the report, that isn't the case as the policy pertains to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

According to FIRST Global, a team from Gambia has also been granted special approval to travel to the USA after first being denied visas.

Team member Fatima Qadiryan, 14, was overjoyed to be going to the USA for the competition.

Speaking at the airport Thursday, another team member Rodaba Noori said: "This support by the U.S president means support for us and for all women in Afghanistan". "I want to say thank you to the USA officials and to the USA president who helped us".

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