The Entrepreneurial Challenge at the Robotex festival in Estonia challenged entrants to solve a real-world problem that would also appeal to potential customers.
Three of the 12 members of the team from Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city, won with a robot prototype that used used solar energy to support small-scale farmers manage their land.
“We are extremely proud of the wonderful accomplishments of the Afghan All-Girl Robotics Team,” Afghanistan’s ambassador to the UK, Said T Jawad, said in a statement.
“They are an excellent example for people around the world of what can be accomplished by young Afghans if given the right support and the opportunity to excel in their education.”
The reason for the denial was unclear, but after an international outcry, the decision was reversed and they were able to enter the country through a “parole” process that allows otherwise ineligible visitors to enter on humanitarian grounds or because it benefits the public.
The decision was met with international outrage and the US authorities eventually reversed their decision.
The teenagers were then allowed to enter the country via a process usually used to allow visitors into the country on humanitarian grounds. They won a silver medal at the competition.