Qatar has evacuated almost 100 footballers and their families from Afghanistan in a collaborative effort with the world football governing body FIFA

Officials in Doha confirmed that the group was flown from Kabul to Doha on a flight that carried 357 passengers on Thursday. The travelling contingent included several women athletes who were involved in football in Afghanistan.

It was Qatar’s eighth and largest passenger evacuation flight from Kabul since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in late August.

Upon arriving in Qatar, the passengers were transported to a compound facility currently hosting other Afghan civilians and evacuees in the west of Doha.

FIFA carried out “complex negotiations”

FIFA confirmed that it played a role in evacuating the athletes and their families “following complex negotiations” and “with the support of Qatar”. FIFA said that the footballers were “deemed to have been at the highest risk” before being flown to the Qatari capital.

The football governing body said, “The FIFA leadership has been closely coordinating with the government of Qatar since August on the evacuation of the group, and will continue to work closely on the safe evacuation of further members of the sporting family in the future.”

The world football federation said, “FIFA would like to express its sincere thanks to the government of Qatar for its support facilitating extensive discussions and for ensuring the safe passage of these individuals.”

Women athletes in hiding

Several female footballers had reportedly gone into hiding since the Taliban regained power in August. Meanwhile, and a group of junior players managed to flee to Pakistan. They have now been issued visas to go to Britain.

Women sports were banned during the Taliban’s first reign that lasted until 2001.

Qatar’s Government Communications Office said the group of evacuees would have access to COVID-19 testing and would remain in Doha until departing to their final destination.

The GCO said, “The State of Qatar will continue to work with international partners on efforts that ensure freedom of movement in Afghanistan, including through serving as an active mediator between various parties.”

This story was originally published here.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at


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