Sabtu, 04 September 2021

Rescued Afghan team’s touching note -

The resettled members of the Afghan Women’s National Football Team shared a heartfelt message and to Aussies who rescued them.

Dozens of players from the Afghanistan Women’s Football National Team are now safely in Australian after being evacuated from Kabul.

They were among the 77 Afghan athletes, officials and their family members to whom Australia has granted humanitarian visas, since the Taliban seized control of the country.

Currently completing their two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine, the rescued players have shared a touching letter and drawings showing their gratitude to the Australian government and people.

Former Socceroo and human rights advocate Craig Foster shared the note on Twitter, while welcoming the team to their “new home”.

“The Afghan Women’s National Football Team, safely in quarantine on Australian soil, wanted to send a heartfelt message of thanks to the Aust Government and people, all who helped them escape Kabul,” he wrote.

“And some beautiful images of love and a shared future. Welcome to your new home.”

Their message read:

“To the Government of Australia and kind hearted people of Australia and the best team ever who worked together.

“Beyond all the tough and demanding decisions and situations we all had, we planned to write a thankyou letter with our thoughts and imaginations. We gathered out to draw some pictures that remind (sic) we are saved from a nightmare.

“Unfortunately situation in our country (sic) made us to leave everything behind even out families. We took risks to succeed in this mission and luckily we are succeeded by all your efforts, hard work, that you all have done for us.

“We all appreciating those days and nights that you all were with us, especially the team that worked days and nights without any hesitation. They have us the feeling of the second family, hopes, dreams that will come true.

“Thanks for giving us the change to feel the peaceful moment and make our dreams come true!”


Foster, along with human rights lawyer Nikki Dryden, former assistant coach of Afghanistan’s women’s football team, Haley Carter, former coach Kelly Lindsay and former captain Khalida Popal were among the team who lobbied the Australian government to grant the soccer players asylum.

Speaking to SBS News, he applauded the government for acting “immediately” and working “around the clock to make it happen”.

According to the captain of the team, Shabnam Mobarez, she believes the Taliban is targeting female athletes, with some reports of the Islamist extremist group beating and killing members.

“My teammates were telling me that they (the Taliban) were going from door to door, pulling out girls, beating them and potentially killing them,” Mobarez said, speaking to the broadcaster.

“I believe that they have a list of football players they want to get and potentially kill them.”

In order to extract the vulnerable athletes from Afghanistan, Ms Carter said it required a three-day “all-day and all-night” operations.

In a special report from The Guardian, Kat Craig – a human rights lawyer at Fifpro (a global union who represents professional soccer players) said some players were prevented from leaving the country but went to extraordinary measures in order to escape.

“They were being beaten up, being whipped and the Taliban were out there with electric cattle prods,” she said.

“Every now and again, someone would say: ‘Nope, papers aren’t good enough’ and we’d have everyone on the phones and you would keep telling the players: ‘Don’t leave, advocate for yourself, keep arguing, keep talking, keep fighting – stay in that room.’ They had to go through an open sewer. They were having to climb over it and we were getting people to fish them out.”

As of August 24, the 77-strong group have been in Australia, with potential plans the players could eventually sett in the United States.

Speaking to Fifpro, Khalida Popal, former Afghanistan national team captain said more needs to be done on an international level to ensure the team and their family remain safe.

“The last few days have been extremely stressful but today we have achieved an important victory,” she said.

“The women footballers have been brave and strong in a moment of crisis and we hope they will have a better life outside Afghanistan. But there is still much more work to do. Women’s football is a family and we must make sure everyone is safe.”

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2021-09-04 03:34:41Z

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