Earlier this month Zaki Anwari, an Afghan national team footballer, died in a fall from a U.S. plane at Kabul airport.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA said it is negotiating the “extremely challenging” evacuation of soccer players and other athletes from Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of power.

The former captain of the Afghan women’s soccer team, Khalida Popal told Reuters in a video interview that the militants had killed, raped and stoned women in the past and female soccer players were afraid of what the future might hold.

“The FIFA President and Secretary General are following closely the situation and are working tirelessly with governments and relevant organisations to get those at risk out of Afghanistan,” the FIFA spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday.

“This is an extremely challenging environment.”

“FIFA’s leadership is personally involved in negotiating the complex evacuation of footballers and other athletes,” it said.

FIFPRO, the worldwide association for professional soccer players, said it has also been heavily involved in efforts to get the athletes out and it appreciated the Australian government’s efforts. 

Given female athletes were prosecuted by the Taliban during their previous rule 20 years ago, the former captain of the Afghan women’s soccer team, Khalida Popal, has urged players to delete social media, erase public identities and burn their kits for safety’s sake.  


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