The following article, Former Afghanistan Women’s National Soccer Team Captain Warns Players to Delete Social Media, Destroy Uniforms, was first published on Flag And Cross.
The Former captain of the Afghanistan Women’s National Soccer Team is warning her fellow players still in Afghanistan to delete all social media, burn uniforms, and discard their soccer gear to avoid retaliation by the radical Islamist Taliban.
Khalida Popal, who now lives in Copenhagen, told Reuters that in the past members of the Taliban had beaten, raped, and murdered female athletes for violating the Taliban’s Islamist tenets. Popal says she is scared for women athletes still stuck in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's former women's soccer captain Khalida Popal told @Reuters she has urged players to delete their social media accounts, erase public identities and burn their kits for safety's sake after the Taliban seized control of the country https://t.co/VqlioYGGt0 pic.twitter.com/MZ0Ziyzna8
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 19, 2021
While the U.S.A. was assuring the safety of Afghanistan, Popal told her girls to proudly stand up and “be visible.” But now that the Taliban is back, she has a different 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 told Reuters.
“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,” Popal continued.
“To earn that badge on the chest, to have the right to play and represent our country, how much we were proud,” she said.
But under the Taliban’s rules, women as second-class citizens and are not allowed to go to school, play sports, drive cars, or even leave their homes without the escort of men.
“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,” Popal said of Afghanistan’s women.
Adding that Afghani women are now afraid every time they hear a noise at the door, Popal concluded saying, “What we are seeing is a country collapsing. 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 said the world’s soccer authority is monitoring the situation in Afghanistan as it develops.
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