WASHINGTON, DC – The all-girl robotics team from Afghanistan which was twice denied visas to enter the US for a competition arrived shortly after midnight on Saturday at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC, after being given the go-ahead earlier this week.
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.
The three-day competition kicks off Sunday at Washington’s DAR Constitution Hall.
The six girls from western Afghanistan’s Herat region had twice been denied visas to enter the country by the US State Department, although the reason was never publicly disclosed.
Many critics pointed to Trump’s travel ban executive order and his administration’s policies, which some perceive as hostile to some foreigners, for the girls’ denial of entry.
On Wednesday, a senior administration official told ABC News that President Trump had intervened on the girls’ behalf to allow them to compete.