All-Girl Afghan Robotic Team Banned From Entering US to Compete
An Afghan high school team of six teenage girls who wanted to compete at the First Global Challenge, an international robotics competition that will have place in Washington DC in mid July, has been denied visa to enter the US.
Afghanistan’s first female tech founder Roya Mahboob, organized the all-girl team and said they were “crying all day” after they were turned down”.
Mahboob told Forbes: “It’s a very important message for our people. Robotics is very, very new in Afghanistan.”
The girls’ team had twice traveled the 500 miles from Herat, a western city in Afghanistan, to the US embassy in Kabul to apply for one week travel visas and attend interviews. But US officials rejected their applications.
The girls’ robot will be shipped to the US to compete against 163 other robots, and they will attend the event via Skype from Herat.
One of the girls, 14 years Fatemah, told Forbes: “We want to show the world we can do it, we just need a chance.”
People’s response on Twitter was supportive of the girls and critical of the Trump administration policy:
This does not solve the problem for these particular girls, or the general underlying problem— Ricardo Cristof (@rcristofrf) July 1, 2017
No. But it helps them in the short term while others work on the long term problem.— Nina Willner (@Nina_Willner) July 1, 2017
And it shows a bit of compassion. That's a start.— Angela Hamade (@heyaries1981) July 1, 2017
He is afraid of intelligent girls.— Habdala (@habdala56) July 1, 2017