Thirty-five Afghan women’s youth team players and their families, a total of 130 people in their country threatened by the Taliban’s return to power, arrived in the UK on Thursday on a flight funded by US star Kim Kardashian.
Athletes who lost an airlift in Kabul in August have been living in fear with their families in Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power.
This Thursday, they landed at London’s Stansted Airport, which helped them leave Afghanistan, according to the Rokit Foundation. According to British agency PA, the athletes were taken to the UK on a flight financed by reality TV star Kim Kardashian.
Siu-Anne Gil, CEO of the Rokit Foundation, “was deeply impressed by the bravery of these girls”, adding that she hoped the “football family” would help them with this “second chance in their lives”.
The young players were backed by Leeds United, whose owner Andrea Radrizani said in a statement that he was “delighted” by the team’s arrival in the UK. “It shows the power of football and sport in general as a force for good and how the football community is able to collaborate and mobilize to save lives,” he said.
Leeds proposed to host these players in the youth categories to give them “a prosperous future”.
“Like others we brought to the UK from Afghanistan, the girls from the Afghan women’s team will be warmly welcomed, supported and accommodated,” a British government spokesman said.