Afghanistan female athletes find new homes Down Under and in Europe after fleeing the Taliban

Taekwondo and youth soccer the latest sports to successfully get athletes out of Afghanistan following the return to power of the Taliban.

FILE PHOTO: Taliban soldiers stand in front of a sign at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 9, 2021. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Taliban soldiers stand in front of a sign at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 9, 2021. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo

Two groups of female athletes who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control of the country are settling in new countries.

Seven taekwondo athletes will be calling Melbourne, Australia home, according to the Associated Press.

They are completing quarantine this week after arriving in Australia following what is described as a “high-risk evacuation” carried out with the help of the Australian government, Australian Taekwondo and Oceania Taekwondo. The effort was spearheaded by former Australia national soccer captain and humanitarian advocate Craig Foster.

One of the athletes, Fatima Ahmadi, was quoted as saying “I feel so good about arriving in Australia. We are safe here without any danger. Australian Taekwondo helped us a lot and I am so thankful. We are now waiting to do some useful things for Australia and repay your help.”

Australia has already welcomed a large group of athletes from Afghanistan, including members of the women’s national soccer team, Foster told Sky Sports News earlier this month.

Afghanistan’s girl’s youth soccer team has also found a home this week. According to the AP, Portugal has granted asylum to the 26 team members, who are aged 14-16, and their families. a group of 80 people.

They were flown out on a charter flight to Lisbon on Sunday, the culmination of a international rescue mission called Operation Soccer Balls that was coordinated with the Taliban.

Afghan women's rights defenders and civil activists protest to call on the Taliban for the preservation of their achievements and education, in front of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Afghan women's rights defenders and civil activists protest to call on the Taliban for the preservation of their achievements and education, in front of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

After the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan last month, they claimed things would be different from when they ruled previously from 1996-2001.

But so far there has not been any noticeable change in their policies severely restricting women’s rights.

The Guardian reported this week that the interim mayor of Kabul has told female employees in the Kabul city government to stay home, with work only allowed for those who cannot be replaced by men.

Emblematic of how things stand on the ground: the building once used for the Women’s Affairs Ministry is now home to the “Ministry for Preaching and Guidance and the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice,” according to the AP.

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