| 19 May 2024, Sunday |

Australia evacuates more than 50 female Afghan athletes and dependents

Following lobbying from important figures in the sporting world, Australia evacuated more than 50 female Afghan athletes and their dependents, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said on Tuesday.

Following the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul’s capital on Aug. 15, Australia has begun withdrawing its residents and some former staff from the embassy for more than a week.

Around 1,000 people were evacuated aboard Australian flights, including about 50 female athletes and their dependents, according to the ABC, after their suffering drew the backing of numerous renowned former sporting personalities.

Nikki Dryden, who swam for Canada at two Olympic Games, worked with an Australian lawyer to complete the visa applications for the athletes that included Afghan Paralympians.

The ABC said Foster lobbied Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Sports Minister Richard Colbeck.

Soon afterwards, the athletes secured visas and then managed to make it to the airport in Kabul for an evacuation flight out of Afghanistan, the ABC reported.

Representatives for Payne and Colbeck did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters. Foster did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

  • Reuters