Afghan girls robotics team to compete after clearing visa obstacles to travel to US

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In this photograph taken on July 2, 2017, teenagers from the Afghanistan Robotic House, a private training institute, work on a robot at the Better Idea Organization center in Herat. HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — A robotics team comprised of six girls from Afghanistan will enter a robot in an international competition in Washington, after clearing visa obstacles that prompted intervention from President Donald Trump.

The opening ceremony for the three-day high school competition is scheduled for Sunday evening.

They will be competing against entrants from more than 150 countries in the FIRST Global Challenge. It’s the first annual robotics competition designed to encourage youths to pursue careers in math and science.

The girls will present a robot they have made that 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 Trump’s last-minute intervention to sidestep the visa system.

Afghan teenagers from the Afghanistan Robotic House take pictures with a mobile phone at Herat International Airport on July 13, 2017, before embarking for the United States. HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP/Getty Images