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Former Afghanistan captain says Taliban return ‘like a nightmare’

Khalida Popal said she feared for the safety of girls and women under the new Afghan regime

Khalida Popal, the former captain of Afghanistan’s women’s team, described the return of the Taliban this month as a nightmare.

Following the withdrawal of international troops in the summer, the Taliban regained control of the country by force after 20 years out of power. This week, the group adopted Kabul as foreign countries scrambled to evacuate embassies.

Popal, now a team director, said she had received messages from her former teammates that they were scared and not sure if they would be able to leave the country.

What was said?

“I receive messages from players from Afghanistan who are crying and saying that we are deserted and that we can not get home, they are scared,” said Popal. BBC Sport. “All the dreams are just gone. It’s just like a nightmare.”

Popal, 34, is now based in Denmark, where she still serves as the director of the Afghan women’s team.

“Players send their videos and say, ‘The people I talked to are now outside my door, I can not breathe, I’m so scared and I see no protection,’ ‘Popal added.

“What’s happening right now is back in the first place. We feel the show is over.”

Popal, who helped form the first Afghan women’s team in 2007, said he feared for the safety of girls and women under Taliban rule.

“We encouraged women and girls to stand up and be courageous, and now I tell them to take pictures, shut down your social media and try to shut down their voice. It causes so much pain,” she said. said.

“The players were so loud and stood up for women’s rights, and now their lives are in great danger.”

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