LONDON (AP) – Football officials are contacting governments to try to evacuate players from Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control, the world players’ union said on Friday.
Concerns have been raised about the safety of women players who have spoken out in favor of women’s rights and against the Taliban.
“As advocates of the activists, we are very concerned about the athletes who have been campaigning for better human rights in the country for many years,” said the world football union FIFPRO on Twitter. “For the past few days, FIFPRO has been working with governments to develop an evacuation plan for athletes at risk. The focus of these rescue efforts is the ambition to get as many people as possible to safety. “
The Afghan government fell much faster than the US publicly expected, allowing the Taliban to regain control of Kabul on Sunday after 20 years.
Several people were killed when hundreds of Afghan civilians desperate to leave the country swarmed a C-17 cargo plane while attempting to take off from Kabul airport on Monday. According to the US Air Force, human remains were found in the wheel arch of the aircraft after landing at the al-Udeid air base in the Gulf state of Qatar.
According to a post by the Afghan Sports Association on a verified Facebook page, a young football player is said to have been among the victims. Honors were paid more broadly.
“FIFA is shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Zaki Anwari, a former Afghan U17 youth international,” the world football association said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go to Zaki’s family and loved ones.”
FIFA called the situation “unstable and very worrying” and said it is in contact with the Afghan Football Association and is receiving updates from players.
“We support them during this difficult time,” said FIFA.
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