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Over 50 female athletes allowed to leave Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds

A group of more than 50 of Afghanistan’s athletes and dependants have been granted evacuation from the country on humanitarian grounds.

The decision to rescue the athletes follows extensive lobbying from the global sporting community.

It has been over a week since Australia began its efforts to rescue citizens trapped in the country, which has been overtaken by the Taliban.

afghanistan athletes
Image: The Chhattisgarh

To date, some 1,700 Australians have successfully fled from Kabul airport.

Of these, about 50 female athletes and their dependants have been rescued, after gaining support from prominent figures in the sporting world.

Canadian Olympian, Nikki Dryden was among those who lobbied for the group, explaining that they had gone through a “terrifying experience” at Kabul airport.

“They spent the first 24 hours at the airport in lines, thousands of people, and nothing happened and they were getting very angry, upset, devastated.”

FIFPRO, the worldwide association for professional footballers, has also been heavily involved in rescue efforts for these athletes.

FIFPRO expressed their sympathy for the athletes, stating: “these young women, both as athletes and activists, have been in a position of danger and on behalf of their peers around the world we thank the international community for coming to their aid.”

However, Dryden is adamant that the athletes themselves achieved their own rescue, playing down the government’s role.

“We had people from five different governments saying maybe they could try to come out, but the policy is that foreign governments were not allowed to leave the airport and that did not happen.”

“Every single one of them who is going to make it to Australia did it on their own,” she told the ABC.

“That’s what’s so extraordinary about the refugee story and I really want to everybody to know — yes, we gave them a hand, but they did it on their own.”

“I could not get them to the gate, I could not get anyone to save them, they saved themselves.”