Members of Afghanistan’s female youth development soccer team arrived in Britain early Thursday after flying in from Pakistan with the help of rabbis in New York, a UK football club. and Kim Kardashian West.
A plane chartered by the reality TV star and carrying more than 30 teenage footballers and their families, around 130 people in all, has landed at Stansted Airport near London. Afghans will undergo 10 days of coronavirus quarantine before starting a new life in the UK.
English Premier League club Leeds United have offered to assist the players.
Britain and other countries evacuated thousands of Afghans in a rushed airlift when Kabul fell to Taliban fighters in August. Since then, many have fled the mainland for neighboring countries. with the hope of going on to the West.
Women’s sport is seen as a political act against the Taliban, and hundreds of female athletes have left Afghanistan since the group returned to power and began restricting women’s education and freedom.
Khalida Popal, the former captain of the Afghanistan women’s national team who led evacuation efforts for the female athletes, said she felt “very happy and relieved” that the girls and women were gone. get out of danger.
“Many of those families left their homes when the Taliban took over. Their house burned down,” Popal told the AP news agency. Some of their family members were killed or taken away by the Taliban. So the risk and the stress is very high, and that’s why it’s so important to move quickly to get them out of Afghanistan. ”
Australia evacuated members of the Afghanistan women’s national football team, and the youth women’s team was resettled in Portugal.
Members of the development team, many of them from poor families in the country’s provinces, managed to make it to Pakistan and eventually to get UK visas. But they were left with weeks without flights out of the country when the duration of their Pakistani visas was reduced.
The group received help from the Tzedek Association, a US nonprofit group that previously helped the last known member of the Jewish community in Kabul leave Afghanistan.
The group’s founder, Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, worked with reality TV star Kardashian West on criminal justice reform in the US. He contacted her to help pay for the plane rental to the UK
“Perhaps an hour later, after the call with Zoom, I got a message that Kim wanted to finance the entire flight,” Margaretten said.
A spokesperson for Kardashian West confirmed that the star and her brand of SKIMs chartered the flight.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/national-international/afghan-women-soccer-players-arrive-in-uk-with-help-from-a-soccer-club-a-ny-rabbi-and-kim-kardashian/3052012/ Afghan women’s soccer players arrive in UK with help from football club, NY rabbi and Kim Kardashian – NBC10 Philadelphia