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Afghan Girls Robotics Team Land In U.S. After Visa U-Turn


A team of Afghan girls who were earlier denied visas to attend a Washington robotics competition landed in the United States on July 15 following an intervention by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The six-member team were greeted at Dulles International Airport by a group of supporters, including Afghan Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib and acting U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Alice G Wells. The girls were presented with bouquets.

They are due to take part in FIRST Global Challenge -- a three-day international robotics competition that aims to promote science and technology among youths worldwide that begins on July 17.

"Our acting special rep to #Afghanistan/#Pakistan welcomes #AfghanRoboticsTeam to USA! Go girls!," tweeted State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

U.S. authorities had originally refused access to schoolchildren from a number of Muslim-majority nations to participate in the science contest, decisions that followed the implementation of stricter visa policies under Trump.

But the U.S. president urged a reversal following a public outcry over the Afghan girls' inability to attend the event. The reversal was announced on July 12.

The six girls from Herat, Afghanistan, were reportedly blocked from attending the robotics competition even after two rounds of interviews for a one-week visa.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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