The following is a press release from ISAF Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. I don’t really know what they do; but do know that is where my daughter Alexa is stationed. She is on her 8th tour to Afghanistan, her first 7 were flying and she drew a ground tour on this one.
Alexa was instrumental in promoting and organizing a soccer match between the ISAF women and the Afghan women’s soccer team. In the middle of a war that our troops are fighting and the politicians are fighting over, Alexa asks the Afghan women’s team, “hey you guys want to play soccer”?
As I have seen in the news and told by veterans that there are parts of Afghanistan that if you’re a female and try to go to school you will be killed. If you wear anything other than the traditional dress, you will be killed, in other words if you’re a woman in Afghanistan, it seems it is awful easy to get killed.
What I’ve heard is that the captain of the women’s team is about five feet tall and a college student studying a finance/economics program at a college in Kabul and most of the soccer players are either college or high school students. One of them told ISAF that they wanted to show the world that they aren’t afraid anymore and they want the world to know they are sick of war; many of them were born during some kind of war and know nothing else,many of them have lost friends and family.
They seem to be like “kids” or women that know what they want and not afraid to push for it, the end of war and peace to their country.
The ISAF team is a composite team of people from different countries most of which grew up playing soccer and thought this was a great idea. All the generals bought into this idea and the game was on.
With only about 3 weeks to turn the NATO team into a team the training began, about 3hours a day after work, which can run 12 shifts, if they can’t sneak away for the team.
Finally the big day arrived today. The game was covered by about 25 international news organizations and many ranking officers from NATO. The Afghan team had beaten the Pakistani team and was up for the match. The teams went back and forth, up and down the field and stayed scoreless for a long time. Both teams started out not playing as good as they wanted and improved as the day went on.
Both teams did an excellent job with the Afghan women able to get one goal while holding the ISAF team scoreless.
What appeared amazing is that the vendors that were selling at the bizarre were (all men) rooting and cheering for the Afghan women. This is generally unheard of in that culture.
I tried to get Alexa to admit that they let the Afghan women win to rule out any honor killings, should they lose, and Alexa assured me it was a fair, hard fought game and they all had a wonderful time.
Just think of the ramifications; why would we send special ops troops into the mountains to kill the enemy, spend billions on sophisticated weaponry and drones, etc. When soccer balls are so cheap? Hey let’s stop shooting at each other for awhile and play soccer.
I say this tongue and cheek and only kidding; this is what the world would be like if it was run by women, no more wars, lower grocery prices and they will probably find an end to world hunger. It is getting to sound better and better all the time.
I can also tell you that we are very proud of our young Captain, that was born, raised and educated right here in Exeter, she truley one of Exeters own and also brings pride, not only to our family, but also to our community.
The press release follows.
International Security Assistance Force – Afghanistan
Committed to the security, reconstruction and extension of governance in Afghanistan
Afghan National Women’s Football Team, ISAF Women
Set to Face Off
KABUL, Afghanistan (October 25) – Kabul-based media are invited to attend a football match here at ISAF headquarters between the Afghan national women’s football team and a pick-up team of women from ISAF on Friday, October 29, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
Leadership from the Afghan women’s team, who requested the match, envisioned the exhibition game as an opportunity to practice against friendly international competition in preparation for future tournaments.
When approached, ISAF members were eager to support the Afghan team.
“We admire the courage, tenacity and fearlessness of these Afghan women,” said US Air Force Capt. Alexa Quandt, an ISAF women’s team member and event coordinator. “They are truly an inspiration with their perseverance and dedication.”
The Afghan women’s team, founded in 2004, played their first international match against Pakistan in August, 2007. The team is the first all-women Afghan soccer team ranked by FIFA, the world soccer's governing body.
Since then, the team has continued to seek new challenges to hone their skills and demonstrate their resolve to continue playing the game they love.
“Afghans should be proud of their women’s football team,” said Brigadier General Chris Whitecross, ISAF Communications. “This match is a great way for them to showcase their skills against friendly competition.”
Media interested in attending must arrive at the ISAF main gate no later than 12:15 p.m.
WHAT: Football match
WHO: Afghan national women’s football team vs. ISAF women’s team
WHEN: 1:00 p.m. Friday, October 29, 2010
WHERE: ISAF Headquarters"