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Hullabaloo


Saturday, July 01, 2017

 
Objectively Pro-ISIS

by digby



This rejection of Afghan girls is undoubtedly welcomed by the Taliban and ISIS. They hate smart, educated women almost as much as the Trump administration:

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.

Roya Mahboob, who founded Citadel software company in Afghanistan, and was the country's first female tech CEO, brought the group of girls together for the project.

“It's a very important message for our people” Mahboob says. “Robotics is very, very new in Afghanistan.”

She says when the girls first heard the bad news about their visas, “they were crying all the day.”

While the State Department won't comment on the visa denials (those records are confidential), recent numbers suggest it's pretty tricky to get a travel visa from Afghanistan to the U.S. According to State Department records, in April 2017, the country gave out just 32 of the B1/B2 brand of business travel visas the girls were trying for. Compare that to Baghdad's 138 B1/B2s issued that same month, or the 1,492 issued at the same time in neighboring Pakistan, and the records suggest the girls' try was a long shot. Still, they persisted.

Back home in Herat, Team Afghanistan is racing against the clock, putting the final touches on their ball-sorting robot that will travel to the U.S. to compete against 163 other machines from around the globe. The students are screwing together joints, programming the machine's sensors, and still trying to find one chain. The six haven't had much time to put this contraption together: their raw materials were held up in customs for months this spring, amid fears over ISIS' use of robots on the battlefield. But instead of giving up, the girls took matters into their own hands, and designed their own homemade motorized robotic machines while they waited for customs to clear their parts. Just three weeks ago, those supplies cleared customs, and the team finally started working on their official FIRST robot, with remote programming help from a few robotics grad students at Carnegie Mellon.
Newsweek has more:

First Global President Joe Sestak, a former Navy admiral and former member of Congress, told Mashable that he had not been told the reason for the denial of the girls' visa request, and said that a team from Sudan and a Syrian refugee team had been granted visas to attend.

The girls' robot will now travel to the U.S. without them, where they hope to watch it compete against hundreds of others via Skype. A video celebrating the team will reportedly be played at the competition.

Mahboob said that the team's success was a hugely important symbol in Afghanistan’s patriarchal society.

“In Afghanistan, as you know it’s a very man-dominated industry,” she told Express Tribune. “The girls, they’re showing at a young age that they can build something.”

Yeah well, that's the problem isn't it. We can' have that.

Maybe those girls should have thought before being born of those parents and living in Afghanistan, huh? Maybe they should have become Baptists instead of Muslims. Needless to say they should have been born male.

I'm guessing that some Trump toadie saw that some Afghan girls had knowledge of electronics and decided they must be terrorists smuggling in a dirty bomb to kill us all in our beds and turn the few survivors into slaves for Islam under Sharia law. After all Donald Trump repeated said on the campaign trail that you have to go after the families and said "the wives know, they always know." That's how these people think.


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