Afghan women’ soccer staff settles in Portugal, welcomed by nationwide ladies’s captain

Ladies from the Afghanistan nationwide soccer staff who have been not too long ago granted asylum in Portugal have had a shock go to from the captain of the senior staff.

Farkhunda Muhtaj, knowledgeable participant who from her house in Canada spent weeks serving to organize their current rescue from Afghanistan, flew into the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, for an emotional reunion with the ladies’ staff late Wednesday.

Because the solar set over the River Tagus, the ladies aged 14-16 and their households gathered on the riverbank and hugged and kissed Muhtaj amid smiles and tears.

“They’ve devoted a lot, they’ve been so resilient, and to lastly see them in particular person has been so emotional as a result of I knew how a lot they went by,” Muhtaj mentioned.

After the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the ladies and their households tried to go away their nation. They feared how their lives would possibly change beneath the Taliban — not solely as a result of ladies and women aren’t allowed to play sports activities, however as a result of they have been advocates for women and lively members of their communities.

The captain of the Afghanistan nationwide ladies soccer staff, Farkhunda Muhtaj, who lives in Canada, welcomes teammates in Portugal. (Carols Costa/AFP through Getty Photos)

What made the rescue mission tougher was the scale of the group — 80 individuals, together with the 26 youth staff members in addition to adults and different kids, together with infants.

“You’re a incredible nation for impacting the lives of so many ladies and for supporting us in so some ways and offering these women with asylum,” Muhtaj mentioned, thanking Portugal for taking them in.

The rescue mission, referred to as Operation Soccer Balls, was coordinated with the Taliban by a world coalition of former U.S. navy and intelligence officers, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, U.S. allies, and humanitarian teams, in line with Nic McKinley, a CIA and Air Power veteran who based Dallas-based DeliverFund, a nonprofit that is secured housing for 50 Afghan households.

On Thursday, the ladies have been heading to an area soccer stadium for a observe session with Muhtaj.

The gamers, pictured coaching above, have been pressured to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban got here to energy. (Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP through Getty Photos) activities/soccer/afghanistan-girls-soccer-1.6195353?cmp=rss | Afghan women’ soccer staff settles in Portugal, welcomed by nationwide ladies’s captain

Aila Slisco

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