Their robot may have permission to travel, but six teenage Afghan inventors are staying put this summer.
They’ve been rejected for a one-week travel visa to escort their robot to the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge – an international robotics competition happening in Washington DC in mid-July.
The all-girl team representing Afghanistan hails from Herat, a city of half a million people in the western part of the country. To interview for their visas, the girls risked a 500 mile trek cross-country to the American embassy in Kabul – the site of several recent suicide attacks and one deadly truck bomb in early June that killed at least 90 people. Despite the recent violence, the teenagers braved the trip to the country’s capital not once, but twice, hoping a second round of interviews might help secure their 7-day visas after the team was rejected on its first try. But no luck.