More refugees flown from Afghanistan: FIFA

FIFA says it has helped bring 57 more refugees out of Afghanistan.
FIFA says it has helped bring 57 more refugees out of Afghanistan.

The evacuation of a second group of 57 refugees from Afghanistan linked to women's soccer and basketball, comprising mainly women and children, has been completed after negotiations, world soccer's governing body FIFA says.

There have been numerous evacuations since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan's capital Kabul on August 15 and announced a new government last month after US-led foreign forces withdrew and the Western-backed government collapsed.

"Following another round of complex negotiations, FIFA can confirm that it has supported Qatar with the evacuation from Afghanistan of a second group of refugees linked to women's football and basketball," FIFA said in a statement on Thursday.

"A total of 57 individuals, mostly women and children, safely landed in Doha on Wednesday, 20 October, on a Qatar Airways charter flight."

Last week FIFA said it had worked with the Qatari government to evacuate almost 100 football players and their families from Afghanistan. The 57 individuals in the second group were also flown to Qatar on a charter flight.

Earlier this month, FIFA also helped cycling governing body UCI in the evacuation of 165 refugees via Albania.

"We would like to express our sincere thanks to both the Amir of Qatar... and the Prime Minister of Albania... for helping us with this humanitarian mission and for all their assistance in safely relocating these members of the football community in such challenging circumstances," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.

"I am also calling on all of our friends in governments and in the football community across the world to help us in obtaining residence permits and visas for the evacuees so that they can start a new life in safe and secure circumstances."

Women were not allowed to participate in sport during the Taliban's first reign which lasted until 2001.

Australian Associated Press