Effort Underway to Rescue Girls Soccer Team From Afghanistan

2 weeks ago 7
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They determination from spot to spot astatine a moment's announcement successful a hopeless bid to evade the Taliban — girls whose lives are successful information simply due to the fact that they chose to play a athletics they loved.

An planetary effort to evacuate members of the Afghanistan nationalist girls shot team, on with dozens of household members and shot federation staff, suffered a crushing setback past week aft a termination bombing astatine the Kabul airdrome killed 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. work members during a harrowing airlift.

Now, frightened and desperate, the girls interest whether a far-flung conjugation of erstwhile U.S. subject and quality officials, congressmen, U.S. allies, humanitarian groups and the skipper of the Afghanistan women’s nationalist squad tin get them and their loved ones to safety.

“They're conscionable unbelievable young ladies who should beryllium playing successful the backyard, playing connected the plaything set, playing with their friends, and present they’re successful a precise atrocious concern for doing thing much than playing soccer," said Robert McCreary, a erstwhile legislature main of unit and White House authoritative nether President George W. Bush who has worked with peculiar forces successful Afghanistan. “We request to bash everything that we tin to support them, to get them to a harmless situation."

Most members of the Afghan women’s team, formed successful 2007, were evacuated to Australia past week.

But the girls, ages 14-16, and their families besides could beryllium targeted by the Taliban — not conscionable due to the fact that women and girls are forbidden to play sports, but due to the fact that they were advocates for girls and progressive members of their communities, said Farkhunda Muhtaj, who is skipper of the Afghanistan women’s nationalist squad and lives successful Canada.

“They are devastated. They’re hopeless, considering the concern they’re in,” said Muhtaj, who keeps successful interaction with the girls and urges them to enactment calm.

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There person been astatine slightest 5 failed attempts to rescue the girls successful caller days, arsenic they were moved astir for their safety, McCreary and Muhtaj said. They were “footsteps from freedom” erstwhile the termination bombing occurred, Muhtaj said.

Complicating the rescue effort is the size of the radical — 133 people, including the 26 younker squad members arsenic good arsenic adults and different children, including infants. Many don't person passports oregon different indispensable documentation to committee flights from Kabul.

McCreary said the ngo — called Operation Soccer Balls — is moving with different countries, with the anticipation the girls volition yet settee successful the U.S. He said Australia, France and Qatar person expressed involvement successful helping. He besides urged the Taliban to easiness the exit for the group, saying it would make goodwill.

“If we tin enactment a protective bubble astir these women and young girls ... I truly judge the satellite volition basal up and and instrumentality announcement and person a batch of offers to instrumentality them successful and big them,” McCreary said.

Former U.S. women's nationalist shot squad skipper Julie Foudy, a two-time World Cup champion and two-time Olympic golden medalist, said the rescue efforts “raise the visibility of these young women and their value to equality and ideology and each these things that we worth successful this country.”

“As galore of america who tin basal up arsenic pistillate athletes — arsenic humans — and say, ‘This is simply a infinitesimal we request to travel unneurotic and bash what’s right,' past we perfectly should,” she said.

Nic McKinley, a CIA and Air Force seasoned who founded Dallas-based DeliverFund, a nonprofit that’s secured lodging for 50 Afghan families, said helium understood that the U.S. was focused connected relocating Afghans who helped American forces, but that others request help, too.

“What astir the small miss who conscionable wants to footwear a shot astir a tract and wants to bash that well, and has worked hard to bash that astatine a satellite people level who finds herself abruptly successful jeopardy lone due to the fact that she conscionable wanted to play a athletics and had a passionateness for playing that sport?” helium said. “The lone happening that they had done incorrect successful the eyes of the Taliban ... is the information that they were calved girls and they had the audacity to imagination of doing something.”

McCreary said the rescue squad feels personally liable due to the fact that the U.S. helped the girls spell to schoolhouse and play soccer.

“We request to support them now,” helium said. “They should not beryllium successful harm’s mode for things that we helped them do.”

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