The women’s soccer team has fled Afghanistan, on an Australian plane carrying dozens of passengers in Kabul, in response to the rescue operations that followed the takeover of the radical Islamist Taliban movement in Afghanistan, the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) said on Tuesday.
The organization thanked the Australian government and the international community for their rapid assistance and evacuation of players, team workers and their families. According to FIFPro “These young women – athletes and activists – are in danger.”
??????? In the midst of this humanitarian crisis, I am so grateful to everyone on this unique team who helped evacuate the players. Two full weeks of real care, mastermind and incredible perseverance. We won’t stop here! Without representation these people cannot be saved! https://t.co/2a8tNA1o58
– Jonas BaerHoffmann August 24, 2021
According to Australian public service television ABC, nearly a thousand people, including fifty female athletes and relatives, have been evacuated from Afghanistan with Australian planes so far. The Afghan women’s national soccer team was formed in Afghanistan in 2007, with women’s sports being a form of political challenge to Taliban ideals.
The team’s players had previously been advised to delete their posts and photos out of community concerns to avoid retaliation after the fall of the US-backed government.
“The last few days have been very stressful, but today we won an important victory” – said Halida Popal, a former team captain living in Denmark, who has negotiated with FIFPro lawyers and staff with the authorities of six countries, including Australia, the US and the UK, to get team members and their families on a safe evacuation list to travel to Afghanistan. They were able to do this through incredibly complex management, said Jonas Beyer-Hoffmann, the organization’s general secretary.
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