In reversal, Afghan girls will be allowed into USA for robotics competition

In reversal, Afghan girls will be allowed into USA for robotics competition

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

The head of First Global, the organization hosting the competition, cheered the news in a statement Wednesday.

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.

The State Department has not said why the girls were denied visas. It was then settled the girls would be "paroled".

The parole option allows a person otherwise denied a U.S. visa to enter the country because of an emergency, for a humanitarian goal, or because the visit is deemed to be in the public good.

Without the reversal, which was first reported by Politico, the girls would have had to watch via video link from their hometown in western Afghanistan.

"We want to be that child and pursue our dreams to make a difference in people's lives".

Members of Afghan robotics girls team chat with each others as they arrive to receive their visas from the U.S. embassy in Kabul Afghanistan
Ivanka Trump shows support for Afghan girls' robotics team that had visas denied

"We were disappointed, and we were feeling bad, but now we are very happy that they have given us a chance to go", 14-year-old Fatemah Qaderyan told Reuters as the girls arrived in Kabul on Friday, bags packed for their trip to Washington, D.C. "We applied again for the United States visa and we were rejected again".

After six months of hard work - often working seven days a week on the project - they constructed a ball sorting robot that can move objects to their correct places.

The girls also said that they will carry messages of peace to the people of America in addition to showcasing the talent Afghan girls have. They twice made a 500 mile trip from their Herat homes to the USA embassy in Kabul to ace their interviews and secure the visas, despite danger and extreme heat.

"Afghanistan is a country at war and doesn't have a lot of resources at hand", team member Fatima Qadari said. Extremists telling Afghans the United States would never treat them with respect have had their propaganda victory snatched out from under them, and even greater alliances will be created against those who wish to divide us.

In addition, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group's affiliate in Afghanistan have tried to increase its footprint with attacks in urban areas.

He thanked the White House and the State Department for clearing the obstacles to the Afghan and Gambian students' travel to the U.S. Teams from all 157 countries that have entered the competition now will be taking part, he added.

Around 160 countries are participating in the competition, with the team from Iran the first to arrive, organizers said.

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