Members of Afghanistan’s national junior girls’ football team have fled across the border into Pakistan, officials said Wednesday.
This comes a month after the hardline Taliban swept back into power, with members of the Afghan Girls National Youth Football Team reportedly trapped in hiding, fearing for their safety.
The girls who played for the under-14, under-16 and under-18 teams crossed the northern land border dressed in burqas, a campaigner said, before they later changed into headscarves.
Campaigners told the Independent, the female athletes were at ‘immediate risk’ due to their association with women’s football as reports surfaced of the Taliban searching hotels in an effort to track them down.
Afghanistan’s new rulers, which banned women from playing all sport during their first rule in the 1990s, have indicated that women and girls will face restrictions in playing sport.