A great victory for Afghan as girls enter robotics team in world competition
A robotics team of six girls from Afghanistan is attending an international competition in Washington after clearing visa obstacles that prompted intervention from U.S. President Donald Trump.
The team was the first to be introduced at an opening ceremony Sunday for the threeday high school competition.
They will compete against entrants from more than 150 countries in the FIRST Global Challenge. It’s thought to be the first global robotics competition designed to encourage youths to pursue careers in math and science. A team from every country in the world was sought.
The Afghan girls are entering a robot they made that can recognize blue and orange and sort balls into correct locations. The team was twice rejected for U.S. visas. They arrived in Washington from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, early Saturday after Trump’s last-minute intervention to sidestep the visa system.
Awaiting them at the gate at Washington Dulles International Airport were a U.S. special envoy and Afghan Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib. “Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all,” Mohib. “They represent our aspirations and resilience despite having been brought up in a perpetual conflict.
“These girls will be proving to the world and the nation that nothing will prevent us from being an active member of the international community.” The U.S. won’t say why the girls were rejected for visas, but some experts speculate it was because there was concern they would not return to Afghanistan.