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Science & Medicine

First Person: Former Afghan Soccer Player On Life As A Refugee, Her Country's Future

25-year-old Fanoos Basir. She’s a civil engineer and former member of the Afghan women’s national soccer team. (Courtesy)
25-year-old Fanoos Basir. She’s a civil engineer and former member of the Afghan women’s national soccer team. (Courtesy)

On September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes in U.S. skies. Two planes flew two into the World Trade center in New York, one into the Pentagon. Passengers fought back on another flight. It crashed in Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000  people died on that day, 6,000 were injured.

Three days later, September 14, 2001, Congress authorized President George W. Bush to send the U.S. military into Afghanistan — to root out Al Qaeda — who’d been harbored there by the Taliban.

20 years of war followed, the longest continuous military conflict in United States history.

Last month, almost exactly two decades after 9/11, the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan. This week, we’ll seek to better understand the impact of 20 years of war.

In our series The Longest War, you’ll hear from Afghan women, U.S. veterans, and others, about how choices made in Washington and Kabul shaped their lives.


In this web exclusive, we hear from 25-year-old Fanoos Basir. She’s a civil engineer and former member of the Afghan women’s national soccer team.

Fanoos spoke with us over several days earlier this month. Communication was challenging, because she and her family are currently living in a refugee camp in France.

The sights, sounds and experiences of life in a refugee camp are familiar to Fanoos. This is her third time living in one.


In this web exclusive … we hear from:

Fanoos Basir, a 25-year-old Afghan woman, former national soccer player, and civil engineer. She is currently in a refugee camp in France.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.