Here's The Afghan Girls' Robotics Team Gleefully Showing Off Their US Visas

Members of a female robotics team from Herat province leave Kabul to the U.S. from Kabul Airport in Kabul Afghanistan Friday Jun 14 2017. The third time's the charm for Afghanistan's all girl robotics team who will

"I am extremely grateful to the u.s. government and the department of State to be assured that the Afghanistan (...) to be able to join us and participate in this worldwide competition this year", had also praised the president of this contest, a former admiral and a member of Congress Joe Sestak, highlighting the presence of scientists of Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, and Syria, among 157 countries.

The young women are in the us for the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge, in which teams of young women and men from around the world showcase robots they created. Ultimately the State Department, which adjudicates visa applications, asked the Homeland Security Department to let them in on "parole", a temporary status used only in exceptional circumstances to let in someone who is otherwise ineligible to enter the country.

"The President of the United States and the people of America supported us in this case, which shows that they have not forgotten us", one competitor, Yasamin Yasinzadah told AFP at the airport in Herat. On Wednesday, Trump intervened, urging USA officials to grant the team access to the country.

"Afghanistan is a war-torn country where it is hard for women to improve", 15-year-old Lida Azizi told Reuters.

Pollster Matt McDermott wrote on Twitter: "The audacity: White House wants credit for intervening to help girls that had difficulty entering country because of Trump's own Muslim Ban!" Much of the 800-kilometer (480-mile) territory between the two cities is controlled by the Taliban, who when they ruled Afghanistan denied girls the right to an education and women the right to work.

But it initially looked like the team from Afghanistan wouldn't be able to attend.

A members of a female robotics team from Herat province shows her U.S. Visa as she leaves Kabul to the U.S. from Kabul Airport in Kabul Afghanistan Friday Jun 14 2017. The third time's the charm for Afghanistan's all

"I truly believe our greatest power is the power to convene nations, to bring people together in the pursuit of a common goal and prove that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences", he said. Teams from Syria, Iran and Sudan - which are on that list - were granted visas to compete.

On Thursday, Sestak said that the Afghan girls and a team from the West African nation of Gambia - which had also been rejected at first - had their visas approved.

"We have many plans for our future", she said.

The team went so far as to obtain customs clearance certificates for the robots and showed video of their work to US consular officials.

Colvin reported from Washington.

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