Afghan Female Soccer Team Escapes to Pakistan after Taliban Ban Women in Sports

Photo by Emilio Garcia on Unsplash

An Afghan national female soccer team and their relatives have crossed the Torkham border and reached Pakistan. Female athletes were forced to leave their country as they are suffering warnings because of their engagement in sports as the Taliban have stopped women from playing any sport. These female athletes are not the only ones who left their country, but other entrepreneurs and politicians have also left Afghanistan being afraid that they might face retaliation from the Taliban.

The female player had earlier decided to travel to Qatar, where Afghan refugees have been kept at a facility for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but unfortunately, they were trapped after a bomb blast at the Kabul airport on Aug 26. Farasat Ali Shah, a director at the Pakistan Football Federation disclosed that the Americans who have left Afghanistan in August gave a commitment to female athletes. They have planned to travel Europe or America.

In addition to this, the decision to bring the 32 footballers including their families to Pakistan was originally started by British-based NGO Football for Peace in collaboration with the power and the Pakistan Football Federation.

Most of the Afghan women’s teams have fled but these female athletes were stuck in Afghanistan because they lack the necessary documents. They had since been in hiding to avoid the Taliban. The footballers will move from Peshawar to Lahore where they will stay at the PFF headquarters.  FIFA’s President has met Afghan refugees during his visit to Doha last week, but FIFA has been slammed by many for its inaction in helping the female footballers who were stuck in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, Pakistan’s officials disclosed that Afghan female athletes will live in Pakistan under tight protection for 30 days before submitting an application for asylum in third countries. The exit of female athletes is part of a wider evacuation of Afghan sports and cultural stars during concerns of an attack on women’s rights after the takeover of the country by the Taliban after foreign forces retreated.