Kim Kardashian pays for evacuation of Afghan female football players

A representative of Kim Kardashian told the PA news agency that the flight was funded by her and her SKIMS brand.

London:

Members of the Afghan women’s youth development football team have been transported to Britain in an evacuation flight funded by American celebrity Kim Kardashian.

The 35 female footballers and their families, a total of 130 people, arrived at Stansted Airport, east of London, early Thursday morning, according to the ROKiT Foundation.

The team had been in Pakistan on temporary 30-day visas since fleeing Afghanistan following a takeover of the country by the Taliban, but risked being sent back when their asylum period expired if no other country was ready to take them in.

But a charter flight brought them to the UK, where they will spend 10 days with a coronavirus quarantine at a hotel before starting their new life.

A representative of Kardashian, best known as a star in reality TV, told the British news agency PA that the flight was funded by her and her SKIMS brand.

Siu-Anne Gill, CEO of the ROKiT Foundation, which helped organize the footballers’ escape from Afghanistan, said she was “extremely humbled by the courage shown by these girls”.

“It has inspired us to make sure that their efforts to cross the border are not wasted,” she added.

Since their return to power on August 15, the Taliban have said that women can play football, but only under strict conditions – namely excluded from playing in public.

Other Afghan female players have fled to Portugal

Leeds United are among the organizations offering to help the footballers who have arrived in England, and Andrea Radrizzani, the owner of the Premier League football club, said in a statement: “We are delighted with the Afghan women’s and girls’ development football team and their families., led by their brave, former captain Khalida Popal have landed safely in the UK after extensive efforts from a number of partners.

“We are honored to have played our part and grateful that the UK Government has made their resettlement in the UK possible.”

He added: “This demonstrates the strength of football and sport in general, as a force for good and shows how the football community is able to work together and mobilize to save lives.

“Through Play for Change Charitable Trust and Leeds United, we stand ready to support the girls and their families in building an inclusive and prosperous future. We can not wait to see them play football again.”

A spokesman for the British government said: “Like others we have brought to the UK from Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s girls’ football team will receive a warm welcome, support and accommodation,”

The Islamist Taliban banned women from sports activities or even going to a fight when they last ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until the US-led invasion in 2001, which followed Al-Qaeda’s attack on the United States on September 11, 2001.

(With the exception of the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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