32 Afghanistan female footballers reach Pakistan to evade Taliban
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has made life uncertain for the country's women, especially sportswomen. Meanwhile, 32 female footballers have eloped the country and entered Pakistan.
As Afghanistan continues to fight its internal turmoil, especially following the Taliban takeover, the women in the country do not feel safe at all. As a result, some are pondering on leaving the country, if possible, at the first chance they get.
Furthermore, the Taliban's recent admission of not allowing women to participate in sporting activities has not gone down well, as the women feel more insecure now. Consequently, some have already left the country.
Meanwhile, as per Pakistan media outlet Dawn, 32 Afghan female footballers have eloped the country out of fear for their lives and reached neighbouring Pakistan with their families. The report adds that Pakistan issued humanitarian visas to get them evacuated.
The footballers, who belong to the national junior team, were scheduled to travel to Qatar, where Afghan refugees have been placed at a facility for the FIFA World Cup 2022. However, they have been stranded in Kabul since August 26, following a blast at the city's airport, killing 170 Afghans, along with 13 service members of the United States of America.
According to the report, the Taliban had issued them life threats due to their involvement in sporting activities. As a result, the women have been hiding for the past month to get a chance to evade them.
British-based NGO Football for Peace, along with the Pakistan government and Pakistan Football Federation, initiated the move to bring these 32 women footballers to Pakistan. While Gianni Infantino (FIFA President) travelled to Doha last week to visit the Afghan refugees, the global body has been under severe criticism for not aiding the female footballers stranded in Afghanistan. Earlier, a former skipper had urged female players to burn their sports gears and get rid of their social media handles to avoid retaliation.
The Afghan female footballers, who have arrived in Pakistan, will travel from Peshawar to Lahore and remain at the PFF headquarters. Pakistan's Information Minister Ch Fawad Hussain confirmed the same in a tweet, "We welcome Afghanistan Women football team they arrived at Torkham Border from Afghanistan. The players were in possession of valid Afg Passport, pak visa. They were received by Nouman Nadeem of PFF."
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