Afghan teenage girl footballers evacuated to Britain

20:07, 18 November 2021
Afghan teenage girl footballers evacuated to Britain Photo:

Girls aged 13 – 19 have fled the country after the Taliban* takeover and finally arrived in Europe after a rescue operation which many celebrities have contributed to.

A plane carrying 130 people including teenage female football players from Afghanistan arrived in the UK from Pakistan this night thus marking the end of the rescue story in which many celebrities took part and provided aid.

Girls aged from 13 to 19 have landed at the Stansted airport not far from London. They will now undergo a ten-day quarantine.

"It's Mission Accomplished! I'm so happy and so proud of these girls. They were traumatized. They've been through so much and managed to stay strong. Now they can start a new life and breathe freedom," said ex-coach of Afghanistan’s national women's team Khalida Popal.

Apart from Popal, the mission was also supported by Leeds United FC owner Andrea Radrizzani, TV star Kim Kardashian-West who sponsored the flight, as well as British veterans and human rights groups.

The rescue operation started back in August shortly after the Taliban had seized power in the Afghan capital Kabul.

As the movement opposes such activities as sports, cinema, arts, and music, the girl footballers predominantly coming from the country’s provinces started receiving threats and experienced property searches.

During the international evacuation, the teenagers were due to leave Afghanistan for Qatar but their flight was canceled over the deadliest attack committed by the local branch of ISIL*, IS-K*, which took the lives of around 200 people including 13 US soldiers.

Several days later the Pakistani government granted them temporary visas and allowed them to enter the country, but did not pay for transit to Europe.

With the aid of the British government and those who contributed to the rescue, the girls have been granted visas and taken to the UK.

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The Afghan female national football team was evacuated to Australia in August.

*Taliban, ISIL, IS-K are terror organizations banned in the US, Russia, and many other countries.