Female soccer player leaves Afghanistan on evacuation flight


Kabul, Afghanistan — Afghanistan Women’s Soccer Team players won an “significant victory” in a group of more than 75 people evacuated by plane from Kabul on Tuesday.

The World Soccer Players Union FIFPRO is working to thank the Australian Government for allowing players, team officials and families to evacuate and to help them leave Afghanistan.

“As athletes and activists, these young women are in a dangerous position and on behalf of their peers around the world, thank the international community for their support,” the union said in a statement.

The Afghan team was founded in 2007 in a country where sports women were considered a political rebellion against the Taliban.

Players have been advised to remove social media posts and their photos with the team to avoid retaliation since the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government this month.

“It’s been very stressful for the last few days, but today we’ve had an important win,” said former team captain Callida Pupal.

Popal is one of FIFPRO’s team of lawyers and advisors working with authorities in six countries, including Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, to take athletes and their families on evacuation lists and flights to safety.

“I hope female soccer players are brave and powerful in the moment of crisis and can live a better life outside Afghanistan,” Popal said.

Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, Executive Director of FIFPRO, said evacuation was a “very complex process.”

“Our heart is directed at all the other people who are stuck in the country against their will,” he said.

Associated Press