Successful Rescue Operation: Kim Kardashian Helped Save Afghan Teenage Soccer Players

Several teenage soccer players from the junior national female team of Afghanistan, as well as their families, arrived in Great Britain on Thursday.

The girls, aged between 13 and 19, and their families arrived from Pakistan overnight. Their flight was chartered by a Jewish aid organization and was paid for by the US reality television star Kim Kardashian-West.

The teenagers feared for their lives when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan since they see the involvement of women in sports as a kind of political act of defiance. Some of the girls' families had received death threats.

The operation was made possible by Kardashian West, along with a New York rabbi and a Premier League soccer club.

Kardashian Had An Important Contribution

The soccer players were due to be evacuated to the Gulf state of Qatar at the end of August but when they were close to the airport they were pulled off their buses due to security warnings. Two hours later, the airport was struck by a bomb that killed more than 180 people.
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10 days later, during which they stayed hidden, because of the intense lobbying on their behalf, they were given the personal permission of the Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, to cross the border. But they only had temporary 30 days Pakistani visas.

Finally, with the help of Kim Kardashian West, along with a New York rabbi and a soccer club Leeds United, the 30-plus teenage soccer players and about 100 of their family members reached the safe land of Great Britain.

Siu-Anne Gill, head of the ROKiT Foundation, said she was "extremely moved by the courage of these girls", and she expressed hope that the "soccer family" would help them in "this second chance of their lives".

Leeds United Got Involved As Well

The young players also received the support of the English soccer club Leeds United, whose owner, Andrea Radrizzani, said he was "delighted" at their arrival in the United Kingdom.

"First chapter was written today! When I received a call asking for help to rescue the youth team from Afghanistan, I didn’t know where to start. Today they flew to the UK. Proud to be part of the team to make this real. Let’s dream one day they will play in @LUFC", Andrea Radrizzani said.

Leeds United had offered to welcome the players to its junior teams to give these girls a "prosperous future", he added.

"As with the other people we brought from Afghanistan to the UK, the girls in the Afghan women's team will receive a warm welcome, support, and accommodation," said a British government spokesman.

The Rabbi Worked With Kim Kardashian Before

The Tzedek Association, a nonprofit U.S. organization that has helped the members of Kabul's Jewish community o escape from Afghanistan, worked to help the team find a new home. Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, the founder of the group, has worked with Kim Kardashian West before.

"As the son and grandson of Holocaust survivors, a time when righteous non-Jewish people stepped up to the plate to help save so many Jewish people, I know in my heart that we must be there for others in their time of need at a time when their very lives are at risk," Rabbi Moshe Margaretten said.

Great Britain evacuated more than 15,000 people during the Kabul airlift in the first two weeks after the Taliban returned to power in mid-August, including nearly 8,600 Afghans eligible for the ARAP relocation and aid program targeting Afghans who worked with the British.

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