After Outcry, Afghan Girls Get Visa for Robotics Contest
The teens were repeatedly denied a visa
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2017 5:41 AM CDT
Sumaya Farooqi, 14, left, practices robotics with her teammates in Herat, Afghanistan, in this file photo.   (AP Photos/Ahmad Seir)

(Newser) – The Afghan girls are coming after all. In an about-face, US officials say the team can take part in an international robotics competition next week in Washington, DC, Politico reports. Even as the six girls struggled to build their robot, the US Embassy in Kabul twice denied their bid for a one-week visa, touching off howls of protest that included President Trump lobbying for the girls to be allowed to compete. No reason was given for the denial, or the reversal, on Wednesday, but Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell says, "We could not be prouder of this delegation of young women who are also scientists—they represent the best of the Afghan people." Members of a Gambian robotics team were also granted visas, the AP reports. Gambia was the only other country denied a visa, out of 163 nations competing, raising questions since neither country is on Trump's travel-ban list.

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