Kim Kardashian Is Lending Her Hand To Afghan Women Soccer Players - Women's Health

Kim Kardashian Is Lending Her Hand To Afghan Women Soccer Players

The reality star worked with a rabbi and a UK soccer team to help fly Afghan players to the United Kingdom.

In August, the world watched as the Taliban seized control over Afghanistan. Shocking images from Kabul revealed the devastation, with streets flooded with people desperate to escape, bodies contorting to find any space on US Air Force transport planes that seemed to offer the only hope of making it out. In the streets, the facade of buildings were being painted with a white wash of acrylic to cover any ads depicting women, erasing the faces of women from view in an instant as the future of women’s rights in the country became uncertain. 

In the months that followed, attempts have been made by various government bodies and agencies to evacuate those left in Afghanistan, particularly when it comes to women. For decades, women have campaigned fearlessly for greater rights in Afghanistan, even coming to establish the 2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women Law, created to provide women and girls with legal protection from domestic violence. But under the new Taliban rule, many rightly feared that their rights would come to be undermined, something that was proven instantly. After taking control, the Taliban confirmed women won’t be allowed to play cricket or any other sports, a devastating revelation for those who derived so much of their identity from the sports they loved.

Looking to provide relief for those women, Kim Kardashian has worked with a New York rabbi and UK soccer club to fly members of Afghanistan’s women’s youth development soccer team to the UK. A plane chartered by the reality star and carrying more than 30 teenage players and their families – close to 130 people in total – landed at Stansted Airport near London, after being flown from Pakistan. It’s reported they will now spend 10 days in Covid-19 quarantine before starting new lives in Britain. 

As HuffPost reports, members of the development team had managed to reach Pakistan where they then secured UK visas, only to be “left in limbo for weeks with no flight out of the country as the time limit of their Pakistani visas ticked down.” Thankfully, they soon received help from a nonprofit US group that had worked to get the last known member of Kabul’s Jewish community out of Afghanistan. 

In an interview with the Associated Press, Khalida Popal, a former captain of Afghanistan’s national women’s team who also spearheaded efforts to rescue female athletes, expressed her relief that the girls and women were out of danger. “Many of those families left their houses when the Taliban took over. Their houses were burnt down,” Popal explained. “Some of their family members were killed or taken by Taliban. So the danger and the stress was very high, and that’s why it was very important to move fast to get them outside Afghanistan.”

Australia has also worked in rescue efforts, evacuating members of Afghanistan’s national women’s soccer team, with the youth girls’ team being resettled in Portugal. 

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