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The female soccer player who stayed behind in Afghanistan

A player for the Afghan national women's soccer team could have left the country. But she decided to stay behind and face the Taliban.
Afghan Soccer
Posted at 9:54 PM, Sep 02, 2021

For seven years, Khatera played on the Afghan national women’s soccer team. First as a defender, then as a forward. 

She received multiple death threats from the Taliban and was regularly harassed. But she never stopped playing the beautiful game.

Last week, she had a golden opportunity to escape Kabul with other teammates who found refuge in Australia.  

But she decided to stay behind and face the Taliban.  

In an exclusive interview with Newsy, she says she stayed because she cares for her parents and for a sister with Down Syndrome — and because she can help other stranded female athletes better from inside the country. 

Khatera is working day and night seeking help from NGOs and western nations to get other friends out of danger. 

But with the Taliban now in full control, her mission is getting harder by the hour. 

This story was originally reported by Ben Schamisso at