WhatsApp film tells how it helped Afghan female footballers escape Taliban
New documentary by award-winning filmmaker Amber Fares is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
WhatsApp is trailing a new documentary it has been involved in, telling the story of how the Afghanistan women’s national football team escaped the country after the Taliban took power in 2021.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Amber Fares, the documentary reveals the bravery of young women and their determination to continue playing a sport they love. It also raises awareness of the safety issues faced by women and how important private communication can be.
The film follows the relationship that developed between the humanitarian activist and former captain of the Afghanistan women’s national football team Farkhunda Muhtaj and the current members of the youth team. Despite never having met in person, Muhtaj leads the young women to safety via WhatsApp messages, which are woven throughout the documentary to retell their story.
Muhtaj said of the project: “These incredible young women just want to continue competing in football and aspire to achieve their dreams. To help them escape successfully, I knew the stakes were extremely high for secure communication. If something was intercepted, whether it be their passports or IDs, not only would the mission be jeopardized but everyone’s life would be at risk.”
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, women and girls have been denied their human rights, including being banned from education, work and playing sports.
Vivian Odior, global head of marketing at WhatsApp, added: “WhatsApp exists to connect people privately. When we heard this story, we were humbled that our app, built with the safety of users in mind, was there to help them on their journey. We are so honored to support these brave women who are an inspiration to everyone pursuing their dreams.”