Players for Afghanistan’s women’s youth soccer team arrived in the United Kingdom after leaving Pakistan in an attempt to flee the Taliban, CBS News reported.
A plane chartered by Kim Kardashian West and New York Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, president and founder of Jewish aid organization Tzedek Association, carried more than 30 teenage players and approximately 130 in total, CBS News reported. The plane landed early Thursday morning in Stansted Airport, where they will quarantine for 10 days.
Margaretten, who co-ordinated the operation and previously worked with Kardashian on criminal justice reform, conveyed his support for the team.
“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,” he stated, BBC News reported.
Former manager of Afghanistan’s national women’s team Khalida Popal, who played a key role in organizing the exit, declared the operation “mission accomplished”. (RELATED: Taliban Asks Congress To End US Sanctions, Release Afghan Assets)
“I’m so happy and so proud of these girls. They were traumatized. They’ve been through so much and managed to stay strong. Now they can start a new life and breathe freedom,” Popal said, according to BBC News.
Andrea Radrizzani, majority owner of English Premier League club Leeds United, expressed support of their arrival and was “proud to be part of the team to make this real”.
first chapter written today! When I received a call asking help to rescue the youth w team from Afghanistan,I didn’t know even from where to start. Today they flew to UK. Proud to be part of the team to make this real. Let’s dream one day they will play in @LUFC💛💙 pic.twitter.com/XLPv6IXByi
— Andrea Radrizzani (@andrearadri) November 18, 2021
Though the team had gained support of the Leeds United owner, they also caught the attention of the U.K. government. In late October, they were granted visas, paving a path for arrival to Britain, BBC News reported.
Margaretten also stated that they still needed funding for the flight, so he reached out to Kardashian. “Maybe an hour later, after the Zoom call, I got a text message that Kim wants to fund the entire flight,” Margaretten said, according to CBS News.
So thankful to G-d that the Afghan Female Youth National Team landed safely in London after fearing for their lives for so long. TY @KimKardashian for funding this flight! I pray others will learn from your generosity & help high-risk Afghans at risk. https://t.co/loHfUeajAx
— Rabbi Moshe Margaretten (@Tzedek_Assoc) November 18, 2021
“I pray others will learn from your generosity & help high-risk Afghans at risk,” Margaretten said in a tweet Thursday.
Kardashian’s spokeswoman confirmed she and her brand, SKIMs, had chartered the flight, CBS News reported.