LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of Louisville's professional athletes opened up Thursday about her time living under Taliban rule.
Nadia Nadim, one of Racing Louisville FC’s newest members, grew up in Afghanistan. Nadim escaped the country when she was 11 with her mother and four sisters after the Taliban executed her father, who was a general in the Afghan Army.
"To have a life under their regime was not possible,” Nadim said.
Watching Afghanistan fall to the Taliban again, she said, has been devastating.
“Heartbreaking," Nadim said. “I can't imagine the girls and women who are in Afghanistan right now look to their future and think, 'Wow, my future is going to be amazing.' Not the way the Taliban rules. I say this because I've been there. I've seen it. "
Nadim's aunt and Afghanistan's biggest female pop star, Aryana Sayeed, was in Kabul when the Taliban took control. She said her aunt was supposed to be on the last flight out of Kabul Sunday, but it was canceled due to chaos at the airport.
"My mom was freaking out,” Nadim said. “She had told her to leave the country earlier, but it wasn't possible with the flights and everything."
Nadim said the Taliban has previously tried to kill Sayeed.
"If the Taliban knew she was still in Kabul they would go search for her and, if they found her, she would be publicly killed,” Nadim said.
After a couple of days in hiding, Nadim said her aunt made it out of the country on a U.S. cargo jet.
Sayeed shared a photo on Instagram from inside the aircraft.
"She's been a figure that, even when the Taliban didn't have power, they were after,” Nadim said. “They tried to kill her because of what she stands for as a female, as a woman. She has a voice and tries to showcase who she is; she sings, dances, everything that they're against."
Nadim said she planned to go to Afghanistan this year for the first time since she fled the country as a child. Now, she said she does not know if she'll ever have a chance to go back.