Trump allows Afghan girls team into US for robotic contest

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Washington, July 13: With the intervention of President Donald Trump, a group of Afghan teenage girls will now be allowed to travel to the United States to take part in an international robotics competition.

The decision was taken following worldwide backlash to the news that the six teens had been denied US visas.

Teenagers from the Afghanistan Robotic House practice at the Better Idea Organization center. Photo credit: PTI

Critics had argued that the visa denials sent the wrong message to the people of Afghanistan even as US troops are still fighting Taliban militants.

Homeland Security Department spokesman said in an email that the agency had approved a request from the State Department for the six girls on the robotics team and their chaperone to enter the country and attend the competition, which is set to bring teams from more than 160 countries to Washington next week. reports PTI.

Reportedly, Trump raised the issue with his national security adviser, HR General McMaster, during his trip to Germany last week for the Group of 20 summit, and had asked for additional options.

The State Department and Department of Homeland Security came up with several with the idea and the US has opted to parole the girls.

Parole is a temporary status in which a person who is otherwise ineligible to enter the country is allowed in temporarily because of an emergency or humanitarian purpose.

Earlier, the girls' visa requests at least twice without spelling any proper reason. Though the girls were denied permission , their robot was not. If they hadn't been allowed to come to America, the girls planned to watch their creation compete through Skype.

The decision gains importance in the wake of President Trump's ban on Muslims from entering the country. The ban restricts visas to citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries, but Afghanistan is not on the list.

In a latest development, the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted her support on Wednesday, saying she looked forward to welcoming "this brilliant team of Afghan girls" to Washington next week.

The girls, had constructed a ball-sorting robot to enter in the First Global Challenge, an international robotics contest that aims to promote interest in science and technology.

The girls wanted to show the world that Afghans could also construct a hand-made robot and they had been deeply disappointed by the initial rejections.

OneIndia News ( with PTI inputs)

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