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Afghan Team Wins Medal At International Robotics Event

  • RFE/RL

Afghan all-girls robotics team, with their robot nearby, watch other country's robots in Washington D.C.

Six Afghan girls who were initially denied U.S. visas to attend a robotics competition in Washington, D.C., have won a medal at the international event.

The Afghanistan team was awarded a silver medal for "courageous achievement" at the event, which ended on July 18. The award recognized teams that exhibited a "can-do" attitude even under difficult circumstances or when things didn't go as planned.

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

At Trump's urging, however, U.S. officials reversed policy and allowed the six girls from western Afghanistan's Herat region to enter the country for the FIRST Global Challenge.

The three-day international robotics competition was aimed at promoting science and technology among young people worldwide.

The Afghan team entered a robot they made that can recognize blue and orange and sort balls into the correct locations.

The competition’s main gold medal went to the Europe team, which got the most cumulative points. Poland won silver and Armenia bronze.

With reporting by AP and ABC news
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