The Afghanistan women’s football team and the escape of the Taliban – the Athletic

“It’s sport that put them in a situation where they had a target on their back but it’s sport that allowed them to make a change in their communities and that’s probably why we were able to evacuate them. It’s a complex story of what the context of sport and football means in their lives.

Every step of the journey of the players of the Afghanistan Women’s National Team, from the moment they first kicked the ball to their evacuation from their home country to escape Taliban domination, has been a fight. Each training session was an act of defiance against the expectations of the role of women in their society and encountered a considerable setback.

Despite all this, in the 11 years since the team played their first official international match, it has also been an opportunity to dream and play a sport they loved.

Since August, when the capital Kabul finally fell under the control of the Taliban after their constant infiltration to take over the country region by region, the lives of Afghan women have changed. The sport is now outlawed again, as are many other freedoms taken for granted around the world, where female national team players are currently scattered, seeking refuge in a homeland where they no longer feel safe.

Most started new lives in Australia, others grew up outside Afghanistan or live in the United States. The youth team is now based in the UK, in partnership with Leeds United.

“When the Taliban took control of Kabul it was devastating for me because I knew there were players based in Kabul and I knew how uncertain it was for women before the Taliban,” he said. Team captain Shabnam Mobarez told The Athletic from her home in New Jersey. , UNITED STATES. “After the Taliban, I knew it would be even worse.

“For the Kabul-based girls, in a fraction of a second everything they had worked for for 20 years was lost.

About the author