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Afghanistan, the women’s soccer team fled to Pakistan

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The players of the youth teams and their families, 115 people in all, have found refuge in the neighboring country. They had been in hiding for days to escape the Taliban

The entire Afghanistan women’s football team arrived in Pakistan with family members, seeking refuge. The players and their families, 115 people in all, arrived at the Torkham border last night, where they were met by a Pakistani Football Association official. Pakistani Federal Minister for Information, Fawad Chaudhry, welcomed the Afghanistan women’s soccer team, stating that “the players were in possession of valid Afghan passports”.

Odyssey

Soccer players who belong to the junior women’s national team have faced threats from the Taliban due to their involvement in the sport. They were originally supposed to travel to Qatar, where Afghan refugees were housed in a facility for the 2022 World Cup, but were stranded after a bomb went off at Kabul airport on August 26. While most of Afghanistan’s women’s national team had managed to leave the country in the last week of August after a deal with the Australian government, the youth team had not yet been able to get flights because they lacked passports and other documents. They had since gone into hiding to escape the Taliban. The move to bring the 32 players – a total of 115 people, including their families – to Pakistan was initiated by the UK-based NGO Football for Peace, in collaboration with the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Football Federation.

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