Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover

Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one…

Nadia Nadim on women's football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover

Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover

Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover

Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover

Former Afghanistan national team captain Nadia Nadim has reflected on her life since she was arrested and detained for a year as a member of the Taliban’s spy network. The former professional footballer, now coach, says she is fighting for her freedom.

I grew up in the town of Gardez in Helmand, Afghanistan. I have had to leave my house for almost two years now – that is because my house burnt down in the last few months. I had to get out of there because it was under so much pressure – but now I am back. I am finally back in my country. The people I met along the way have been really brave and I am glad to be back.

– Nadia Nadim

I was born in 1975. My father was a police officer in Mazar-i-Sharif and I grew up with his family. I remember my father teaching me what it meant to be a good Muslim, which is to follow the faith and to do good for others.

After finishing school, I joined the police academy. After about six years of training, I applied for a job as a guard at a police station. But I met many problems and it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I also felt that there wasn’t really a need for women there. We were under the direct eye of the Taliban.

In 2001, when the Taliban government invaded Afghanistan, it wasn’t a great time to be a woman. All sorts of things were happening. The Taliban controlled our schools and then they attacked our teachers. Then they tried to take over our government. It wasn’t a great time for women and it was hard for us.

My father and other family members were killed so I had to leave my country and live in Pakistan with him. In Pakistan I joined the army, where I spent my time going to schools, where I helped women’s football and coached women’s and girls’ teams. I was doing everything I could to change the situation.

I joined my country’s football team, the Afghan national team, a few years ago and was very much an outsider. But because of my experience in the army and my passion for football, the head of the team recognised this.

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