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Female Afghan soccer players flee to Pakistan, joining exodus of women and girls

Female Afghan soccer players flee to Pakistan, joining exodus of women and girls


An earlier model of this story misspelled the title of the British group that helped with the evacuation. It’s a long way the Rokit Foundation. The article has been corrected.

Early Newspaper

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Virtually two dozen feminine soccer players from Afghanistan, together with many adolescence players, hang crossed into Pakistan alongside with their families, joining a rising amount of outstanding Afghan women and girls fleeing their nation amid fears of repression below Taliban rule.

“We welcome Afghanistan Women football crew,” Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Pakistan’s records minister, wrote in a message on Twitter early Wednesday, announcing that crew participants had entered Pakistan at the Torkham border crossing the utilization of Pakistani visas.

The players consist of participants of the Afghan adolescence nationwide crew as smartly as a community of teenage girls from a provincial crew that won the Afghan Women’s Premier League in 2019, stated Khalida Popal, a weak captain of Afghanistan’s nationwide women’s soccer crew and the founder of a nonprofit group called Lady Energy that empowers girls by intention of sports activities and education.

Popal, speaking in a telephone interview from Denmark, stated she led the hassle to support the players escape.

“I knew that they had been in huge threat,” she stated. In the western Afghan province of Herat, the set up the provincial crew players lived, players’ properties had been burned and families had been taken in the center of the evening by the Taliban, Popal stated.

“There turned into so mighty hope for these girls, and then all the pieces turned into displaced, and they misplaced all the pieces,” she stated.

Popal turned into also a pacesetter of a community of human rights activists and professional soccer players who worked to support participants of the Afghan Women’s National Crew plod away Afghanistan in the chaotic days after the Taliban first took bear an eye on of the nation. Many escaped on flights out of Kabul. However arranging safe passage for the adolescence players turned into more advanced, in phase consequently of they didn’t command the identical international consideration because the senior crew, stated Popal, who enlisted the support of a British nonprofit called the Rockit Foundation in the evacuation effort.

“Of us had been with the nationwide crew, however this time turned into the toughest, consequently of I had to bawl louder and sigh, ‘I need support,’” Popal stated.

When the Taliban final controlled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, the community enforced a thorough interpretation of Islamic regulation that forced women to wear burqas whereas combating them from working, attending college or showing in public without male chaperones. Since taking pictures the nation final month, the Taliban has pledged to respect women’s rights, with the caveat that such rights mustn’t ever contradict the community’s be taught about of culture and religion.

In fresh weeks, women hang held demonstrations in Kabul and varied cities to deliver gender-based violence as smartly as their already evaporating feature in public existence. Dozens of feminine lawmakers, human rights activists, athletes and others hang fled the nation or tried to, unswayed by the Taliban’s promises.

In late August, 75 Afghan feminine soccer players, officials and relatives traveled from Kabul to Australia, the first nation to offer to favor in the athletes in response to entreaties from a multinational community of athlete advocates and human rights lawyers. Other evacuation efforts hang followed.

Ashfaq Hussain Shah, president of the Pakistan Soccer Federation, stated the 22 players and their families who crossed into Pakistan early Wednesday had been transported to the city of Lahore — an eight-hour pressure. The affiliation turned into awaiting to earn more players and their families, he stated.

Popal stated she hoped to procure a collection up for many of the adolescence players in Australia, the set up they’re going to finally have the option to play soccer again. She stated she turned into frustrated with how runt international sport governing our bodies and varied critical players had completed to reduction her as she and others worked to support the players flee.

“It shouldn’t be on me,” Popal stated. “I’m not the governing our bodies of a sport, I’m appropriate one particular person.”

Fahim reported from Istanbul and Hensley-Clancy from Washington.

Female Afghan soccer players flee to Pakistan, joining exodus of women and girls