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Around 100 Afghan players, families arrive in Qatar

Around 100 Afghan players, families arrive in Qatar

FILE PHOTO: Players of Afghanistan's national women's football team stand near the Belem Tower in Lisbon, Portugal, September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Rodrigo Antunes

Qatar's assistant foreign minister Lolwah Alkhater said around 100 Afghan soccer players and their families were among the passengers to arrive on a recent flight from Kabul.

The Taliban seized control of the Afghan capital on Aug. 15 and announced a new government last month after U.S.-led foreign forces withdrew and the Western-backed government collapsed.

British media reported that at least 20 members of the Afghanistan women's team were among those on the flight and that soccer's world governing body FIFA had worked with the Qatari government to coordinate the effort.

Reuters has requested comment from FIFA.

"The eighth passengers flight from Kabul just arrived in Qatar," Alkhater wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

"This is the biggest flight thus far with 357 passengers on board and for the first time we have citizens from New Zealand. Also around 100 footballers & their families including female players are on board."

FIFA said in August it was negotiating the "extremely challenging" evacuation of soccer players and other athletes from Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover.

Cycling's world governing body UCI said on Monday it helped in the evacuation of 165 refugees from Afghanistan which included female cyclists, journalists and human rights campaigners.

Australia evacuated more than 50 female Afghan athletes and their dependents in August, while several players from Afghanistan's national female youth soccer squad were granted asylum in Portugal last month.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: Reuters

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