The players of Afghanistan’s youth football team left the country and went to Pakistan. The women spent the last month in hiding for fear of repression by the Taliban. A representative of the Pakistan Football Association said the players and their family members would be housed at the federation’s headquarters in Lahore.
Members and members of the women’s national team flew from Kabul last month, but the youth team was left on its own, largely because the female soccer players did not have passports or other documents. However, 32 players and their family members received visas thanks to the charity Football for Peace operating in Pakistan.
A representative of the Pakistan Football Association said the group of 81 people in total will be placed at the federation’s headquarters in Lahore. Another 34 people will come to the country on Thursday. In Pakistan, players will be under strict protection until they submit asylum applications in third countries, he added.
British “The Independent” reported that the players wrote a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan asking for permission to enter the country. The letter stressed that the players were “seriously threatened” by the Taliban.
A month ago, former Afghan national team captain Khalida Popal advised players to remove their social media photos that show they are playing soccer. He also recommended that they burn their sports clothes.
Under the Taliban regime, women are not allowed to play sports
Last week, the Deputy Head of the Taliban Cultural Affairs Committee, Ahmadullah Wasiq, expressed doubts about the future of women’s sport in the country. When asked about the fate of the women’s cricket team, he stated that it was neither appropriate nor necessary. – While playing cricket, it may happen that their bodies and faces are not covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen this way, Wasiq said.
– We live in the age of the media. There will be photos and videos for people to see. Islam does not allow women to play cricket or play sports in which they are not covered, added the deputy head of the Taliban Cultural Affairs Committee.
Women were not allowed to play sports during the period when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The flight of footballers from the country is part of a wider migration of Afghan sports and culture stars who fled the country for fear of Taliban repression.
In addition to the departure of women’s football teams, the popular singer Aryana Sayeed and the famous film director Sahraa Karimi left Afghanistan last month.
Main photo source: RAHAT DAR / PAP / EPA