Trump allows Afghan girls team into U.S. for robotic contest

Trevor Jackson
July 14, 2017

Teenagers from the Afghanistan Robotic House practice at the Better Idea Organization center.

After a group of six teenage girls in Afghanistan were denied entry into the US for a robotics competition, Department of Homeland Security officials have changed course and are allowing them to compete.

The teenagers were denied access to the US under the president's executive order on travel after making multiple trips to their country's capital depsite the dangers of the war-torn region.

The girls will now be able to participate in next week's worldwide competition along with entrants from 157 countries, which also includes Syrian refugees.

Trump's decision to intervene comes after human rights groups criticized the U.S.'s decision to initially deny the girls entry.

First Global, organizers of the robotics competition that features 163 teams from 157 countries - including a team of Syrian refugees - welcomed the decision.

Competition organizers and U.S. officials announced on Wednesday that the six Afghan girls will be able to participate in the contest, which takes place July 16-18.

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A U.S. travel ban is in place for six Muslim-majority countries, which does not include Afghanistan.

According to Politico, critics warned that denying the team entry would engender negative feelings about the U.S.in Afghanistan. A spokesperson for the agency told the Associated Press on Wednesday that "all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with USA law". On Wednesday, however, Politico reported that, after hearing about the situation, President Donald Trump urged officials to let Afghanistan's girl robotics team into the country in time for their July 16 competition. Afghanistan, however, is not on that list.

The president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, greeted the girls by posting a tweet on Wednesday.

After a month of checking US State Department allowed them to take part in the competition.Girls are now eventually able to make their robot creation.

The team wanted to prove that students in the conflict-torn country could also construct a robot.

Authorities did not precisely explain why the girls were originally rejected, but they say they are now happy the girls can participate.

Earlier this week, the State Department announced its ongoing support for the "TechGirls" initiative, bringing young Muslim women from the Middle East and North Africa to the U.S. for a three-week exchange program meant to promote women's interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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