Six teenage girl inventors from Afghanistan have been denied entry into the United States to compete in a prestigious world robotics competition.
Forbes reports that the girls were rejected from obtaining one-week travel visas to attend the FIRST Global Challenge, an international robotics competition happening in Washington DC.
To get their visas, the girls twice made a treacherous 500 mile journey from their hometown of Herat to the American embassy in Kabul. They were rejected both times.
Roya Mahboob, who founded Citadel software company in Afghanistan, and was the country’s first female tech CEO, is known for encouraging women in tech, and even brought the girls together for the project.
She says the girls were “crying all day” when they found out about the visas.
As the Forbes article points out, the State Department won’t comment on confidential visa denials, but it’s become recently very difficult to travel from from Afghanistan to the U.S.