Afghan Women's Youth Soccer Team Flees Taliban for Pakistan

Afghan Women's Youth Soccer Team Flees Taliban for Pakistan

Dozens of players from¬†Afghanistan’s junior national women’s soccer team successfully fled Afghanistan and arrived in neighboring Pakistan on Wednesday, with more of their fellow teammates due to arrive on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Roughly 81 people, including female players of several Afghan youth soccer teams, their coaches, and family members “reached Pakistan through the Torkham border crossing” on September 15, Umar Zia, a senior Pakistan Football Federation official confirmed.

An additional group of soccer players and associated personnel totaling 34 people were due to arrive in Pakistan from Afghanistan on September 16, according to Zia.

The young female athletes had “spent the past month in hiding amid fears of a crackdown on women’s rights by the Taliban,” the BBC reported on September 15.

The Pakistan Football Federation plans to house the sports refugees at its headquarters in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore “under tight security” for one month before they seek asylum in countries outside Pakistan, Zia told Reuters on September 15.

Gabrielle Reyes