Qatar has transformed a facility initially built for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in order to temporarily house Afghan evacuees.
FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino has praised Qatar’s role in evacuating thousands of Afghans from Kabul over the past few weeks. Infantino made his remarks during a tour of one of the temporary housing units which Qatar has dedicated for evacuees.
“The fact that Qatar opened its borders to the world is showing what a welcoming country this is,” the senior FIFA figure told the press.
Infantino toured the newly-opened compound on Saturday, where he visited Afghan evacuees, playing a game of football and handing out gifts. The compound was initially built for the World Cup 2022.
“The fact that this compound has been able to be transformed into a home for the people of Afghanistan for a transitional period is something that of course fills us with joy,” said Infantino.
Commenting on the football community’s role in helping Afghanistan during its latest crisis, Infantino said that the industry had already started to mobilise.
“I think it is very important that the football community helps to give new homes and new houses to those people who had to leave their country.”
Accompanying Infantino was Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, as well as Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater.
Afghans of all ages at the compound appeared excited when Infantino arrived, rushing to take selfies with the senior FIFA representative as children received t-shirts and other gifts from the Supreme Committee.
Qatar has been hosting thousands of Afghans evacuated from Kabul in the weeks since the Taliban took over the capital city. Many have fled the country out of fear of living under Taliban rule.
The Gulf state has managed to evacuate over 40,000 Afghans in total, at least half of whom continued travelling to other countries.
Qatar is set to host the World Cup next year, the first country in the Middle East to do so.