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Afghan girls robotics team competes after visa obstacles

A robotics team of six girls from Afghanistan is taking part in an international competition in Washington, after clearing visa obstacles that prompted intervention from President Donald .

The team's ball-sorting robot played in its first game on Monday morning.The team is competing against teams from more than 150 countries in the FIRST Global Challenge. 

It's a robotics competition designed to encourage youths to pursue careers in math and science. The girls' robot managed to score one or two points in the first game. The team has two more games to play Monday and three games Tuesday.

Like other robots in the competition, the girls' robot can recognize blue and orange and sort balls into correct locations.

The team was twice rejected for U.S. visas. They arrived in Washington from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, early Saturday after 's last-minute intervention to sidestep the visa system.

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A robotics team of six girls from Afghanistan is taking part in an international competition in Washington, after clearing visa obstacles that prompted intervention from President Donald Trump. They are pictured above on Monday during the competition

A robotics team of six girls from Afghanistan is taking part in an international competition in Washington, after clearing visa obstacles that prompted intervention from President Donald . They are pictured above on Monday during the competition

The team's ball-sorting robot played in its first game on Monday morning, as they are competing against teams from more than 150 countries in the FIRST Global Challenge. Above members of the Afghani all-girls robotics team carry their robot onto the competition floor

The team's ball-sorting robot played in its first game on Monday morning, as they are competing against teams from more than 150 countries in the FIRST Global Challenge. Above members of the Afghani all-girls robotics team carry their robot onto the competition floor

The team was twice rejected for U.S. visas. They arrived in Washington from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, early Saturday after Trump's last-minute intervention to sidestep the visa system. The girls are pictured above on Monday prior to the first competition

The team was twice rejected for U.S. visas. They arrived in Washington from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, early Saturday after 's last-minute intervention to sidestep the visa system. The girls are pictured above on Monday prior to the first competition

Last week it was announced that U.S. officials would allow the girls into the country.

Homeland Security Department spokesman David Lapan said the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved a State Department request for six girls from the war-torn country to be allowed in, along with their chaperone, so they can participate in the competition.

The non-profit organizing the competition celebrated the reversal in a jubilant statement Wednesday.

'I truly believe our greatest power is the power to convene nations, to bring people together in the pursuit of a common goal and prove that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences,' said Joe Sestak, the president of First Global. 

He credited 'the professional leadership of the U.S. State Department' for ensuring that all 163 teams from 157 countries, including a team of Syrian refugees, would be able to participate.

The U.S. State Department had declined to comment on why the Afghan team's visa applications were denied, saying that 'all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with U.S. law.'

Last week it was announced that U.S. officials would allow the girls into the country. Above the girls watch other teams competing during the event on Monday

Last week it was announced that U.S. officials would allow the girls into the country. Above the girls watch other teams competing during the event on Monday

The U.S. State Department had declined to comment on why the Afghan team's visa applications were denied, saying that 'all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with U.S. law.' Above team member Lisa Azizi is pictured Sunday

The U.S. State Department had declined to comment on why the Afghan team's visa applications were denied, saying that 'all visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with U.S. law.' Above team member Lisa Azizi is pictured

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