Visa Decision Reversal Brings Afghan Girls Robotics Team To FIRST Global Robotics Competition

Lida Azizi (left) and Kawsar Roshan in Herat, building a self-driving miniature rickshaw decked with Afghan and American flags. Photograph: Sune Engel Rasmussen

Lida Azizi (left) and Kawsar Roshan in Herat, building a self-driving miniature rickshaw decked with Afghan and American flags. Photograph: Sune Engel Rasmussen

Visa Decision Reversal Brings Afghan Girls Robotics Team To FIRST Global Robotics Competition

In the days of Trump, we are learning to accept small wins and tiny pleasures. Progressive women got a dose of pure delight on Wednesday -- Pakistan's heroic Malala Yousafzai's birthday -- when news broke that the US State Dept had reversed its refusal to grant visas to six Afghan female students to travel to Washington DC for the FIRST Global international robotics competition next week. 

The international backlash against an absurd decision that allowed the team from Iran and five other countries listed by the Trump administration in their disputed Muslim ban to come to the competition while denying visas to the Afghan girls team looked like unadulterated sexism by the Trump administration. Countless individuals and organizations accused Trump -- who is rolling back women's rights in America -- of retreating from America's previous efforts that support the education of young women in Afghanistan. 

Gambia, the only other country to be denied a visa, will also be coming to Washington.