Afghan women soccer players land in the U.K. thanks to an assist from Kim Kardashian West

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

A plane chartered by Kim Kardashian West landed in London today. Onboard the flight was members of Afghanistan’s women’s youth development soccer team and their families.

Early Thursday 30 teenage players and their families, a total of about 130 people, landed at Stansted Airport near London. They will spend ten days in quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic and then they will begin new lives in Britain. The youth development team, comprised mostly of girls from poor families throughout Afghan provinces, fled to Pakistan where they were able to secure U.K. visas. They were in limbo after that for weeks, unable to get a flight out of Pakistan, because of a time limit on their visas.

A U.S. nonprofit, Tzedek Association, stepped in to help the team and their families get out of Pakistan and into the U.K. The group also helped the last known members of Kabul’s Jewish community leave Afghanistan. The founder of the nonprofit, Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, had experience working with Kardashian West on criminal justice reform, so he reached out to her, looking for financial aid with the project. She quickly responded to his request for help. “Maybe an hour later, after the Zoom call, I got a text message that Kim wants to fund the entire flight,” Margaretten said.

A spokeswoman for the reality star and entrepreneur confirmed that Kardashian West and her brand SKIMS chartered the flight for the Afghans. Leeds United, the English Premier League club, also offered to help.

Members of Afghanistan’s national women’s soccer team and its girls’ team have been resettled in Portugal, thanks to the efforts of Australia.

It’s important to get female athletes out of Afghanistan now that the Taliban is in control. The Taliban looks upon women playing sports as a political act of defiance. Hundreds of female athletes have left Afghanistan since the takeover last August. The Taliban, as we know, quickly cracked down on education and other freedoms for women and girls. Khalida Popal, a former captain of Afghanistan’s national women’s team, led the evacuation efforts and spoke about the dire circumstances experienced by the girls and their families. Time was of the essence for them.

“Many of those families left their houses when the Taliban took over. Their houses were burnt down,” she told the AP. “Some of their family members were killed or taken by Taliban. So the danger and the stress was very high, and that’s why it was very important to move fast to get them outside Afghanistan.”

She said she felt “so happy and relieved” that the girls were out of danger.

Joe Biden and the State Department allowed this kind of situation to happen in Afghanistan due to their incompetence and apathy shown during the rushed and chaotic withdrawal from the country. Since then, no one has been held accountable for endangering the lives of women and girls in the country, much less the American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan helpers left behind. The callousness shown from the Biden administration, starting with Biden himself, has been astounding. Biden’s botched withdrawal and the handling of the human beings involved has been noticed by Americans, as is evident in the cratering of his favorability numbers. The Afghanistan withdrawal was the first big failure broadcast about the new administration. Since then the incompetence of the Biden administration has been exposed in other areas, including the rise in inflation, the interruptions in the supply chain, and putting a halt to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden campaigned on ending the pandemic and getting out of Afghanistan. He’s accomplished one of those promises but with very bad results.

Biden ran as the guy who was experienced and competent. He claimed to be the guy to reestablish norms, to be a compassionate leader. Leaving behind thousands of Americans and Afghan helpers to whom the American government made promises of safety and security is neither normal nor compassionate. Biden lied, people died.

The thirteen U.S. service members who were killed in a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport during the botched withdrawal operations in August will be honored with Congressional Gold Medals. The House unanimously passed the bill in late October. On Wednesday, the Senate did the same. Dozens of people were killed in the attack which ISIS-K took credit for carrying out.

“The American servicemembers went above and beyond the call of duty to protect citizens of the United States and our allies to ensure they are brought to safety in an extremely dangerous situation as the Taliban regained control over Afghanistan,” the legislation says.

The medals will be cold comfort to the grieving families who continue to ask why this all happened. Their loved ones deserve the special recognition and the families deserve to see some accountability taken by the Biden administration. One good place to start would be the State Department. Celebrities and regular Americans, including veterans, shouldn’t have to be the ones doing the work of helping those left behind now.

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