A team of Afghan girls has arrived in the U.S. to compete in an academic robotics competition after American officials agreed to allow them to enter the country despite initially denying them visas. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) A team of Afghan girls finally arrived in the U.S. on Saturday to compete in an academic robotics competition after American officials agreed to allow them to enter the country despite initially denying them visas. The reversal reportedly came at the request of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been embroiled in controversy over his efforts to restrict immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. The girls arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia just after midnight. A group of supporters and Afghan Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib were at the airport to greet them. A spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said he could not publicly comment on individual cases, but officials in Washington confirmed the girls had been granted an exemption, called a parole, that would allow them to travel. "I look forward to welcoming this brilliant team of Afghan girls, and their competitors, to Washington DC next week!" Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, wrote in a statement on Facebook. "These girls represent our world's future scientists, engineers, and innovators!" While officials did not comment on the reasons for initially denying the girls visas, the United States often denies visa requests from Afghans over fears that they will refuse to return home. Members of the team said they see the competition as a chance to help improve conditions in Afghanistan, where women and girls often face significant limitations in public and private life.