After U.S President Donald Trump’s intervention, the girls were granted visas to attend the international robotics challenge in Washington next week.
Robotics Team Arrives In Kabul To Get Last-Minute U.S Visas
The six teenage girls from Afghanistan’s robotics team arrived in Kabul on Thursday afternoon to collect their visas for the U.S and said they were very grateful to everyone who had worked to get the original decision overturned.
This comes after the girls were initially denied U.S visas. However, the move sparked an international outcry and only after U.S President Donald Trump reportedly stepped in on Wednesday night (Kabul time) was the initial decision overturned and visas were ordered to be issued.
Trump’s order on Wednesday night meant the girls had only hours to board a flight on Thursday in Herat and fly to Kabul to get to the U.S embassy for visas.
With no time for interviews at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, the girls were only able to answer a few quick questions.
One member of the team, Yasamin said: “I thank the U.S officials who supported us and did not forget the people of Afghanistan.”
Another team member, Lida Azizi, said: “We made a lot of effort to attend the competition and now we will go there to show the robot we built.”
The girls are expected to leave Afghanistan on Friday for Washington where the FIRST Global, an international robotics challenge, will be held next week.
On Tuesday, U.S congressmen Joe Courtney and Suzanne Bonamici sent a letter signed by 53 members of the United States House of Representatives to the U.S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to issue U.S visas for the girls.
On Wednesday night (Kabul time) a White House spokesperson confirmed Trump had intervened and ordered U.S officials to grant the girls visas.
Following the announcement, Trump’s daughter Ivanka posted on her Twitter page that she was looking forward to welcoming the girls to Washington.
Speaking at the airport Thursday, another team member Rodaba Noori said: “This support by the U.S president means support for us and for all women in Afghanistan.”
“The support by the people and leaders of America means support for peace and development in Afghanistan and it shows that they want women’s progress in Afghanistan,” the trainer of the team Ali Reza Mehraban said.
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.
“We want to show that Afghan girls can also take part in great development programs,” said Kawsar, a member of the team.
Over 160 countries will attend the international robotics challenge which will be held in Washington from July 16.