Former Afghan footballer Khalida Popal spoke out this week on the return of the Taliban as she told Bloomberg News what life was like when people were once “happy to be alive.” Popal and other women and girls walked the streets of Kabul in public and shook hands with men as part of a program that called for “one less neighbor.” Popal was invited by FIFA in 2016 to speak about how her country came to be caught in the throes of war and how the international community needs to do more to support peace and stability.
“Even today we have a lot of work to do,” Popal told Bloomberg. “A country without peace is not a country.” The interview is part of a broader look at Popal’s life and the way she is bringing hope and optimism to a country struggling to overcome decades of turmoil. Popal’s image has been used as a model for Afghan women in design and has served as a cultural agent for Afghan women. Popal is a columnist at Afghanistan Daily and is seen as the leading voice for female empowerment among Afghans. The #NoIslamicIsAFGHANISTAN movement, organized by former U.S. Ambassador Ann Patterson, highlights the suffering of the thousands of Afghans who have died in airstrikes by Afghan forces backed by U.S. forces. Popal said her country still has work to do. “Even today we have a lot of work to do,” Popal told Bloomberg. “A country without peace is not a country.”
Read the full story at Bloomberg.