Trump supported us, say Afghan girls after robotics visa U-turn

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A members of a female robotics team from Herat province, shows her US Visa as she leaves Kabul to the US from Kabul Airport on Friday.

A team of six teenage girls from Afghanistan finally boarded a plane to the US on Friday, to attend an global robotics competition after an initial visa rejection decision for them was reversed. Two previous attempts to secure visas, which involved traveling 500 miles to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, had failed.

But the United States president urged a reversal following public outcry over the Afghan girls' inability to attend the event.

The group of six, from Herat, Afghanistan, was twice denied visas to attend the Washington, D.C., event, the only team from 162 nations whose application for entry to the United States was rejected by the State Department.

Left unmentioned by Conway is the fact the Trump administration is now fighting in federal court to implement a travel ban that would bar nationals of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

U.S authorities initially refused to issue the girls with visas. The girls spent six months building their robot, the AP reports, often working six days a week - and then they had to persuade their parents to let them go, in a country that often discourages girls in science and math.

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Members of a female robotics team from Herat province leave Kabul to the U.S. ASSOCIATED PRESS

HRW explained that, previously, the team would have been relegated to competing via Skype while their hardware made it into the United States.

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

After that, they were told they were not allowed to compete because of travel issues not once, but twice.

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". One team from each country is invited to participate, like an Olympics of high school robot builders.

The six-girl team and their chaperone completed their journey just after midnight from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, to enter their ball-sorting robot in the three-day high school competition starting Sunday in the USA capital. "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", Joe Sestak, the president of First Global, was quoted as saying by AP.

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