Press "Enter" to skip to content

Safe and alive, however ‘traumatized,’ the way forward for these Afghan ladies footballers could be very unsure

During the final interval of Taliban rule, ladies had been banned from collaborating in sports activities, and by late August, Khalida Popal, the previous captain of the Afghan ladies’s soccer staff, had urged gamers to delete social media profiles and burn their kits to guard themselves.

“They are like a nightmare for my generation. They took over all of our country in one night. And after that night, we were able to see the Taliban on the streets. They were cruel. They didn’t have mercy for anyone,” 19-year-old defender Narges Mayeli informed CNN.

Mayeli is certainly one of two Afghan ladies footballers now dwelling within the UK who spoke to CNN about their experiences.

Once the Taliban seized energy, the ladies feared for his or her lives and the security of their households.

An try and board an evacuation flight to Qatar failed in August following a suicide assault at Kabul airport, so the younger ladies scrambled to go away Afghanistan overland, by way of Pakistan, by the Torkham border, in mid-September. They ultimately secured a flight to the UK in November after two precarious months.

A Taliban replaces a sign of the Department for Women's Affairs with the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, at an entrance gate of a government building in Kandahar on October 20.

“I feel sad and worried, and I want to be able to go back to my home. We never dreamt of leaving our country, but it’s very difficult and scary knowing that as women, we lost our light, our freedom that we had in Afghanistan,” Sabreyah Nowrozi, the 24-year-old staff captain of the ladies’s staff, informed CNN. 

In August, the UK authorities introduced a resettlement scheme for Afghan residents going through “threats of persecution from the Taliban.”

The scheme, which prioritizes ladies, ladies, and non secular and different minorities, will see the UK absorb as much as 20,000 refugees over the following 5 years, and grant indefinite rights to remain within the nation or pursue citizenship.

But the ladies’s soccer staff has been given no assurances, Copenhagen-based Popal, who spearheaded efforts to evacuate the ladies and ladies, who solely have six-month non permanent visas, informed CNN.

“These girls have no refugee status,” Popal, who lives in Denmark after she was compelled to flee her house nation in 2011 in worry for her life due to her function in establishing Afghanistan’s nationwide ladies’s staff, stated. “They are in kind of a limbo of not knowing what will happen to them in six months’ time,” she stated. 

Restrictive insurance policies and uncertainty

The United Kingdom’s stance on immigration has hardened in recent times: Home Secretary Priti Patel has repeatedly vowed to make the English Channel crossing to the UK from France “unviable” for migrants.

Last Wednesday, 27 folks — together with a pregnant girl — drowned in bitterly chilly waters off the coast of France after an inflatable boat carrying migrants certain for Britain capsized within the English Channel. 

Thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing battle, persecution and poverty on the planet’s poorest or war-torn nations danger the damaging crossing, usually in dinghies unfit for the voyage and on the mercy of individuals smugglers, searching for asylum or financial alternatives in Britain.

French police patrol the beach of Wimereux searching for migrants on November 25.

Ministers from either side of the Channel on Thursday laid blame on their counterparts after Wednesday’s tragedy, which was one of many largest losses of life within the English Channel in recent times. It is unclear whether or not Afghans are amongst those that perished, however the route is one which different Afghans have used up to now.

The Afghan ladies gamers say they really feel safer and safer now they’ve reached the UK. “Now we can have a calm sleep, we are less worried,” Mayeli stated. 

But with out the assure of refugee standing, the younger ladies say they really feel insecure. 

“Of course, you cannot focus on studying, you cannot focus on integrating, knowing that maybe tomorrow you will be kicked out of the country,” Popal stated. 

Nowrozi informed CNN: “It’s worrying for me that after six months the UK could say, go back to Afghanistan.” 

“These girls, these families, the entire group have been through a lot. Their life was in great danger. They have lost a lot,” Popal informed CNN.

“They didn’t want to leave Afghanistan, but they were forced to. They were pushed to. They have lost so many things on the way. They were scared of their lives,” Popal stated. 

“It was not only the fear from losing their life by the Taliban, but it was from the neighborhood, from the society that were against the participation of women, especially through football,” she stated. And it wasn’t simply the ladies at risk, in response to Popal: “The brothers, and a few of the fathers had been threatened, overwhelmed. 

“And there, a few of them, they misplaced their properties. They had been placed on hearth as a result of the minute the Taliban took over the nation, these ideologies had been supported by [the] Taliban.”

The UK granted the group six months of go away to facilitate their entry to the UK, in response to a Home Office official.

They might be processed for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) within the UK earlier than their six months of preliminary go away expires, according to the federal government’s customary method throughout and because the evacuation, in response to the official.

If they’re granted ILR, there might be no time restrict on their skill to remain within the UK.

The future of girls’s sport

The future of girls’s sport in Afghanistan stays unclear.

Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural fee, informed Australia’s SBS News that Afghan ladies mustn’t play cricket and different sports activities wherein they might be “uncovered.”

“In cricket, they could face a scenario the place their face and physique won’t be coated. Islam doesn’t enable ladies to be seen like this,” Wasiq stated to SBS News.

The chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, Azizullah Fazli, later informed Al Jazeera that Taliban officers had indicated there was “formally no ban on ladies’s sport,” however many stay involved. 

Popal informed CNN that the Taliban was sharing inaccurate details about the standing of girls to appear extra progressive to the worldwide neighborhood.

Members of Afghanistan's national girls football team arrive at the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in Lahore on September 15.

“I’ve been receiving loads of telephone calls, messages, emails: persons are determined, particularly the ladies athletes. They are actually making an attempt to only discover a solution to get out, to really feel freedom, to get entry to schooling,” Popal stated. 

In October, CNN spoke to ladies in Kabul who had been returning to public areas after staying inside through the preliminary first few unsure weeks of Taliban rule. 
Still, there was concern a few regular rollback of girls’s freedoms because the group seized energy three months in the past, most not too long ago with ladies barred from showing in tv dramas.

“We began enjoying soccer in a small space in a neighborhood the place the entire folks know us as soccer gamers. We had been the ladies who had been enjoying soccer, not solely as a sport, however we had been enjoying soccer with the intention to empower different ladies with the intention to elevate our voices for ladies rights,” Mayeli informed CNN. 

“As a girl, as a soccer participant, I did not really feel protected in Afghanistan.”

An alternative — however not “endgame” 

The younger ladies say they’re hopeful for his or her “vivid futures” within the UK. 

Mayeli stated she is grateful to the entire individuals who labored to assist her attain the UK, together with the UK authorities, Popal, ROKIT (a UK-based charity that has helped the footballers) and Kim Kardashian.

“I wish to have greater schooling, and assist different folks as I can. As I’ve skills, I wanna elevate my voice for different ladies, as a result of they’re nonetheless in Afghanistan and they’re at risk,” she stated. 

Popal informed CNN that the ladies have to be given refugee standing, schooling help, psychological well being and monetary help.

“The major focus to start with is to get them psychological well being help, as a result of they’re traumatized. They want particular care, they usually have been on the go for such a very long time now,” she stated.

“They have accomplished their job. They have been by quite a bit, they usually have risked their life to get out of Afghanistan. They have proven management. They have proven bravery. We want the neighborhood to come back collectively to help the staff to attain their desires and objectives.”

Nowrozi informed CNN that she desires to turn out to be a toddler psychologist, as she studied psychology at college in Afghanistan. And the gamers cannot wait to hold on enjoying soccer. 

“To play for Chelsea, it is my ambition.”

“I adore it, as a result of when I’m enjoying soccer, I be happy. I really feel relaxed. At first, it was a passion, however after that it grew to become my love,” she stated.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    %d bloggers like this: