The USWNT players wrote a letter to the United States government asking for help in getting the Afghan women’s soccer team out of Kabul.
The women’s us soccer team is a group of U.S. soccer players who have written to the United States government over the Afghan women’s national team, who are stuck in Kabul because they cannot get out of their country.
Former and current members of the US women’s national team, including captain Becky Sauerbrunn and star forward Alex Morgan, have written to the US State Department requesting humanitarian parole for members of the Afghan women’s national team who are attempting to flee Kabul following the Taliban’s takeover.
Following pressure from prominent people in the sports world, Australia evacuated more than 50 female Afghan athletes and their families earlier this week.
On Thursday, Islamic State suicide bombers struck the Kabul airport, killing dozens of civilians and at least 13 US soldiers. Thousands of people had been attempting to escape the turmoil after the takeover.
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The letter was signed by Sauerbrunn, Morgan, Meghan Klingenberg, Rose Lavelle, Crystal Dunn, Sam Mewis, and Jordan DiBiasi, who subsequently shared it on social media.
“On behalf of the Afghan Women’s National Soccer team players who are currently trapped in Kabul, surrounded by violent war crimes and the ongoing pandemic, we strongly urge you to listen to Senators, veterans, and fellow Americans who are calling for humanitarian parole for women activists in Afghanistan, particularly these players,” the letter said.
“In this rapidly worsening situation, we appreciate the immediate steps you and the Department of Defense are doing to safeguard Afghan women. We, like you, are very worried about their safety, and are especially disturbed by the immediate risk that women athletes face in Afghanistan right now.
These soccer players and other sportsmen have been using sports to promote democracy, human rights, and equality for women and girls in their nation for the last decade. The Taliban, however, are putting these women, as well as the development and diplomacy they’ve achieved via athletics, in grave danger.
The Afghan women’s national team is more than simply a soccer team. In their nation, they are campaigners and trailblazers. Our soccer community must band together to demand that these ladies get the help they need. #AfghanWNT @StateDept @FLOTUS pic.twitter.com/YnTeKaJZk4
August 27, 2023 — Becky Sauerbrunn (@beckysauerbrunn)
“The Afghan women’s national soccer team is being pursued, and their lives are in jeopardy, all because they participate in the sport we love.” Because of their courageous choice to advocate gender equality via athletics, they have left their homes and been forced to delete any trace of their lives and athletic achievements. Throughout this period, the United States will continue to “stand with those who stood with [it],” and we hope that the safety of these ladies will be a top concern.
“These ladies are now in Kabul, completing their documentation in preparation for clearance and transfer to the United States. We urge that you provide humanitarian parole and immediate protection to the Afghan women soccer players who are in severe danger, notwithstanding the difficulties with the evacuation procedure.”
FIFA, the global governing body of soccer, has stated it is negotiating the “very difficult” evacuation of soccer players and other athletes from Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover.
Last week, Afghan national team soccer player Zaki Anwari died when a U.S. aircraft took off from Kabul airport, which had been flooded with people fleeing Afghanistan since Taliban militants came to power in the city on Aug. 15.
Former and current members of the US women’s national team have written to the US government. Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images photo
“The FIFA President and Secretary General are carefully monitoring the situation and are working hard with governments and appropriate organizations to safely evacuate anyone in danger in Afghanistan,” a FIFA spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.
“FIFA’s top officials are directly engaged in the difficult evacuation of players and other sportsmen. This is a really difficult atmosphere to work in.”
FIFPRO, the international governing body for professional soccer players, said it had been actively engaged in attempts to get the athletes out and praised the Australian government for its efforts.
Khalida Popal, the former captain of the Afghan women’s soccer team, has advised players to delete social media, erase their names, and burn their uniforms for safety reasons now that the nation is back under Taliban control, which placed severe restrictions on women’s behavior from 1996 to 2001.
In a video interview with Reuters, Popal said the extremists had previously murdered, raped, and stoned women and that female soccer player were frightened of what the future may bring. This story was based on data from Reuters.