Afghan girls’ soccer team flees to Pakistan
Islamabad, Sep 15 (EFE).- The Afghan youth girls’ soccer team has fled Afghanistan from the land border with Pakistan after the Taliban takeover of the country and the subsequent restrictions on women playing sports in the country.
“I don’t know if they left Afghanistan in fear or due to threats but they already had plans to go to Europe,” a diplomatic source at the Pakistani embassy in Kabul told EFE on Wednesday on the condition of anonymity.
The 22 players and 57 family members arrived in the eastern city of Lahore at noon on Wednesday, after crossing the Torkham border on Tuesday, Pakistan Football Federation spokesperson Sharafat Bukhari told EFE.
Bukhari said that no sports events or matches had been scheduled for the players at the moment and a nonprofit was taking care of them and their families.
Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry welcomed the young footballers in a tweet.
“We welcome Afghanistan Women football team (…). The players were in possession of valid Afghanistan Passport, Pakistan visa,” he said.
The Taliban’s ascent to power on Aug. 15 has triggered alarm among many Afghans women, as they were confined to their houses during the earlier regime of the Islamists due to their conservative interpretation of Islam.
Although the group has insisted that it has changed over the two decades, its first decisions after coming to power have suggested otherwise.
Last week the Taliban announced an interim government consisting exclusively of its fundamentalist members and without any woman.
Subsequently the government had announced that they would allow women to study in universities but they will be separated from the men in the classrooms.