ATLANTA, GEORGIA—An international effort to evacuate members of the Afghanistan national girls football team, along with dozens of family members and soccer federation staff, is now being undertaken.
The evacuation efforts are now undertaken since their supposed flight going out of Afghanistan suffered a crushing setback last week after a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport killed 169 Afghans and 13 US service members during a harrowing airlift.
Robert McCreary, a former congressional chief of staff and White House official under President George W. Bush who has worked with special forces in Afghanistan said they are now exerting efforts to help these girls.
“They’re just unbelievable young ladies who should be playing in the backyard, playing on the swing set, playing with their friends, and here they’re in a very bad situation for doing nothing more than playing soccer,” McCreary said.
“We need to do everything that we can to protect them, to get them to a safe situation,” McCreary added.
Sources said most members of the Afghan women’s team, formed in 2007, were evacuated to Australia last week.
Farkhunda Muhtaj, who is captain of the Afghanistan women’s national team and lives in Canada said these girls need to be evacuated fast since women and girls are forbidden to play sports by the Taliban.
“They are devastated. They’re hopeless, considering the situation they’re in,” Muhtaj said.
McCreary revealed the mission — called Operation Soccer Balls — is working with other countries, with the hope the girls will eventually settle in the US.
He said Australia, France, and Qatar have expressed interest in helping.
He also urged the Taliban to ease the exit for the group, saying it would create goodwill.
“If we can put a protective bubble around these women and young girls … I really believe the world will stand up and and take notice and have a lot of offers to take them in and host them,” McCreary said.

By bob

A veteran soccer journalist who is an avid fan of Atlanta United and Lionel Messi.