Players from Afghanistan’s women’s national soccer team were evacuated on a flight out of Kabul yesterday.
The Australian government was commended by the global players’ union, Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPRO), for successfully evacuating players, team officials and their family members.
The FIFPRO released a statement, explaining that the “…young women, both as athletes and activists, have been in a position of danger and on behalf of their peers around the world we thank the international community for coming to their aid.”
The women’s national soccer team was created in 2007 by Khalida Popal, who made headlines earlier this week for publicly urging girls in Afghanistan to take down photos of themselves playing soccer, and burn their jerseys, in order to stay safe from the Taliban.
“The last few days have been extremely stressful but today we have achieved an important victory,” the former team captain Popal said.
Popal is part of a group including FIFPRO lawyers and advisors who have worked with officials across six countries, including Australia, the U.S. and U.K, to get athletes and their families evacuated from Afghanistan.
“The women footballers have been brave and strong in a moment of crisis and we hope they will have a better life outside Afghanistan,” Popal added.
Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, the general secretary of FIFPRO , said evacuations have been “an incredibly complex process.”
“Our hearts go out to all the others who remain stranded in the country against their will,” he said.
Image: Beyond Sport