A former captain of the Afghanistan female football team is telling female football players in the country to burn their uniforms and delete photos for their own safety as the Taliban takes control of the country.
On Wednesday, co-founder of the Afghan women’s football league, Khalida Popal, spoke to Reuters from Copenhagen. In a video interview, she said that she had always told women “to stand strong, to be bold, to be visible,” but she has changed her message.
“Today I’m calling them and telling them, take down their names, remove their identities, take down their photos for their safety. Even I’m telling them to burn down or get rid of your national team uniform,” she said.
“And that is painful for me, for someone as an activist who stood up and did everything possible to achieve and earn that identity as a women’s national team player. To earn that badge on the chest, to have the right to play and represent our country, how much we were proud.”
“They are so afraid. They are worried, they are scared, not only the players, but also the activists… they have nobody to go to, to seek protection, to ask for help if they are in danger,” she said of the current situation. “They are afraid that any time the door will be knocked.”
“What we are seeing is a country collapsing,” she added. “All the pride, happiness to be there to empower women and men of the country is like it was just wasted.”
A spokesperson for FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, reportedly said the international soccer body shared “concern and sympathy with all those affected by the evolving situation. We are in contact with the Afghanistan Football Federation, and other stakeholders, and will continue to monitor the local situation and to offer our support in the weeks and months to come.”
The Taliban recently claimed that women would have rights under their rule but have gone on to reportedly commit violence against women and anyone who assisted the previous government.
As The Daily Wire reported, “Fox News published a photo Tuesday of an Afghan woman lying in a pool of her own blood after being shot by a Taliban militant in Afghanistan’s Takhar province. That same day, a Taliban spokesman publicly announced that the new regime would ‘provide women with environment to work and study, and the presence of women in different (government) structures according to Islamic law and in accordance with our cultural values.’”
“The Taliban are ‘intensifying’ their search for Afghans who helped the United States and have a ‘list of people’ they intend to ‘question and punish,’ according to a Thursday report from The New York Times, based on a document prepared by the United Nations,” The Daily Wire reported on Thursday.
Zarifa Ghafari, who was a female mayor in Afghanistan, has said that she and her family were waiting for the Taliban to discover and murder them.
“I’m sitting here waiting for them to come. There is no one to help me or my family. I’m just sitting with them and my husband. And they will come for people like me and kill me. I can’t leave my family. And anyway, where would I go?” she said.
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