Thursday, July 6, 2017

CBS -- Visas denied for all-girl Afghanistan robotics team competing in U.S.

“An all-girl robotics team from Afghanistan's plans to compete in the U.S. were upended after their visas were quickly denied by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

“The team of six teen girls hailing from Herat, Afghanistan had been working on their latest robotic creation for months in order to compete in the international FIRST Global Challenge competition being held in Washington, D.C..

“The challenge encourages young participants from across the globe to develop skills in engineering and technology.”

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ Facebook post expresses his dismay at the State Department’s decision:

I want you to know about these amazing, smart and brave young Afghan women who hope to compete in a global robotics competition in Washington, DC later this month. First, because the materials in their robotics kit had been held up over concerns they might fall into the wrong hands, these women had less time than other teams to construct their project, and had to improvise using household items. Then they had to cross 500 miles of dangerous territory from Herat to Kabul – twice – to apply for their visas at the US Embassy. But, for some reason that I cannot understand, their visas were denied by the US State Department.

Supporting the educational aspirations of young people, particularly young women, all over the world should be seen as a priority for US foreign policy, not a threat. I encourage the State Department to reconsider, and to expedite these visas so these young engineers can come to DC and participate with their peers from around the world in this competition.

Visas denied for all-girl Afghanistan robotics team competing in U.S.

By Emily Tillett