Thirty-five Afghan players from the team of young women and their families, a total of 130 people threatened in their country by the Taliban’s return to power, arrived in the United Kingdom on Thursday on a flight funded by US star Kim Kardashian.
The athletes, who lost the organized airlift in Kabul in August, lived in fear in Afghanistan with their families after the Taliban seized power.
On Thursday, they landed at London’s Stansted Airport, according to the Rocket Foundation, which helped them leave Afghanistan. According to the British agency PA, the athletes were evacuated to the UK on a flight funded by reality TV star Kim Kardashian.
Seo Ann Gill, CEO of the Rocket Foundation, was “very moved by the courage of these girls,” adding that he hoped the “football family” would help them with this “second chance in their lives.”
The young players have received support from Leeds United, whose owner, Andrea Radrizzani, said in a statement he was “delighted” with 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 added.
Leeds suggested hosting these players in the youth categories to give them a “prosperous future”.
A British government spokeswoman said: “Like the other people we have brought from Afghanistan to the UK, the girls on the Afghan Women’s Team will be warmly welcomed, supported and accommodated.”