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Southern California visit by Afghan water polo players nixed

December 20, 2011 |  3:57 pm

Plans for would-be water polo players from Afghanistan to come to Southern California for training have hit a roadblock, and the team will not be arriving on Christmas Day as announced.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul declined to issue visas for the players out of concern that they might try to remain in this country, the U.S.-based Afghan water polo team organizers said.

In Kabul, an embassy spokesman declined to discuss the visa applications, citing privacy concerns.

Marine Warrant Officer Jeremy Piasecki, a former water polo player and coach who lives in Bonsall in northern San Diego County, came up with the idea for an Afghan water polo team.

"This is just one more obstruction that this program must navigate around," organizers said.


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--Tony Perry in San Diego and Laura King in Kabul

Photo: Afghan water polo players and their Marine coaches, Major Bartosz Lesniewicz (left) and Warrant Officer Jeremy Piasecki, in Afghanistan.

Credit: Cpl. Lindsay Sayres / Marine Corps