U.S. engagement in Afghanistan: Past, present and future
CBS News intelligence and national security reporter Olivia Gazis interviews three top former intelligence officials about U.S. engagement in Afghanistan. Panelists Michael Morell, former CIA deputy director and Intelligence Matters host, Michael Vickers, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and CIA operations officer, and Philip Reilly, former Chief of Operations at CIA's Counterterrorism Center and Kabul station chief, each weigh in on the implications of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the future of the counterterrorism mission in the region.
Afghanistan's women's junior football team and their immediate families will be relocated to Britain from Pakistan "shortly" after being granted visas by the UK government. © Horacio Villalobos/Corbis News/Getty Images Afghanistan women's team captain Farkhunda Muhtaj embraces with members of the Afghanistan Youth Women's National Team in Lisbon, Portugal in September.
"We are working to finalise visas to the Afghan Women's Development Team and look forward to welcoming them to the UK shortly," a UK government spokesperson told CNN.
"The Government is committed to doing all it can to support those most in need, including vulnerable women and girls, and those at risk who have had to flee Afghanistan."
Dad who fled Afghanistan sues US to reunite with young sons
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Afghan man was attending a conference in California as part of his job for a U.S.-government funded project in Afghanistan when the Taliban sent a written death threat to his home, forcing him to make a heart-wrenching decision: He would not return to his wife and two young sons and instead would seek asylum and try to bring them to the United States. Two years later, Mohammad said he regrets leaving them, and wished he had never worked for the U.S. government given the price he has paid. As Mohammad tried to get visas for his family, his wife collapsed in 2020 and died of a heart attack while the Taliban threatened them.
The UK Home Office declined to comment on the type of visas the players and their families would be receiving.
In August, the UK government announced a resettlement scheme for Afghan citizens facing "threats of persecution from the Taliban."
The scheme, which prioritizes women, girls, and religious minorities, will see the UK take in 20,000 refugees over the next five years.
Thirty five young footballers, mostly teenagers, and their families -- a total of 130 people -- missed the airlift evacuations from Kabul in August, according to a UK-based charity, ROKiT Foundation, which is providing assistance.
READ: How a 'ragtag group' helped evacuate the Afghanistan national women's football team from the country
"With the assistance of some very brave people on the ground in Afghanistan, the girls made the perilous journey in small groups to the Pakistan border and all were, eventually, able to get through", said Jonathan Kendrick, the founder of the ROKiT Foundation.
Afghans are still trying to escape their country and find new homes, but as the world's attention turns elsewhere, the money is drying up
Agencies are working day and night to get Afghans resettled. Just because the media has moved on doesn't mean the crisis is over.But in a matter of days, countries stopped evacuating people from airports in Afghanistan. In a matter of weeks, the media stopped putting coverage of the ongoing struggles faced by Afghans unable to leave the country on the front page.
'They have right to dream'
Pakistan granted the players and their families temporary 30-day visas and they were transported to Lahore before applying for UK visas, Kendrick said.
With the successful visa application, Kendrick said the second phase of the operation was the "safe accommodation of the girls" in Pakistan before the third phase, to come in "the next couple of weeks", of the relocation of the girls and their families to the UK.
On Saturday, former Afghanistan women's captain Khalida Popal, now living in Denmark, tweeted: "These girls deserve the best they have been through a lot. They have right to dream. Thanks to government of the UK for accepting to be the host country for them. Thanks to amazing orgs that made this possible."
Siu-Anne Marie Gill, CEO of the ROKiT Foundation, said the charity would continue to offer support in the UK "to include helping to arrange further education [...] as well as trials for the players with several of the English professional women's football teams who have already expressed great interest in meeting them."
Afghans in a city under siege by the Taliban: ‘The insecurity has upended our lives’
As the militant group tightened its grip on the area, many residents of the western city of Herat worry about what the future holds.Thousands of families have been forced to leave their homes in Afghanistan over the past few months as fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces intensified.
Andrea Radrizzani, chairman of English Premier League side Leeds United, last month urged the UK government to help the girls resettle in the country.
In a statement sent to CNN, the Leeds owner said he was "ready to support in any way we can to give the girls a prosperous and peaceful future." © Tariq Mikkel Khan/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images Former Afghanistan women's football captain Khalida Popal. © Horacio Villalobos/Corbis News/Getty Images Members of the Afghanistan Youth Women's National Team receiving a surprise welcome by the captain of the Afghanistan women's team Farkhunda Muhtaj in Lisbon, Portugal in September.
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