Former Afghan football captain Khalida Popal said she’s determined to stay in her country, despite how cruel, brutal and sexist the Taliban rule has been. In her first major interview since returning to Kabul from eight years of hiding in Pakistan, Popal told the Boston Globe:
“When women have control of their life, they live peacefully. When they are subjugated, they need someone to look after them, and the Taliban were that someone. My story shows that they aren’t necessarily Muslims. “I will keep living in my country. I’m not interested in taking any leave. I’m going to work for my country. They destroy and hold women back all the time, and this is a good thing for me. “In the communist regime and the Taliban, the most educated, most talented women couldn’t even go to school. It’s made me determined to break this vicious cycle.”
Popal, who earned a spot on the 1990 Afghanistan World Cup team, helped win a rare FIFA award in 1993 for women’s football excellence. Popal’s autobiography, “Buddha’s Daughter,” was published in 1988.
Watch the Globe’s interview with Popal, in which she says she is contacted by the Taliban daily.
The Washington Post previously profiled Popal’s experiences in the U.S., where she lives with two dogs and two daughters, ages 9 and 13.