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Taliban to ban Afghan women from playing sports, sources say

The assault on women’s rights under Taliban rule in Afghanistan continues as the terrorist group will forbid women from playing sports, like cricket, where their bodies might be shown, or they may be exposed to the media.  

The deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, gave an exclusive interview with SBS News, an Australian public broadcaster. “I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket. In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this,” Wasiq said.

He continued, “It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed.”  

The interview came as the Afghan men’s team makes preparations to visit Australia for a test match this coming November. However, the elimination of a women’s team counterpart could jeopardize the men as well. According to the International Cricket Council (ICC), countries are required to have women’s teams to qualify for full membership, which is necessary to compete in test matches; Afghanistan reached this status in 2017 (NPR).

A member of the women’s team told the BBC, “Every woman playing cricket or other sports is not safe right now. The situation is very bad in Kabul.” Wasiq said that Islam allowed women the freedom to go out on a needs basis, like shopping, for example. Sport is not considered a need, he said. A former player, however, disagrees.

“When I play I feel like a strong woman,” says Hareer, who spoke to the BBC under an assumed name. “I feel confident and I feel proud of myself. I can imagine myself as a woman who can do anything, who can make her dreams come true.”  

Unfortunately, it appears those dreams are coming to a close. Wasiq says the change comes back to religion. “Even for this, if we face challenges and problems, we have fought for our religion so that Islam is to be followed. We will not cross Islamic values even if it carries opposite reactions. We will not leave our Islamic rules.”

Richard Colbeck, Australia’s Minister for Sport gave a statement to SBS that said, “Excluding women from sport at any level is unacceptable.” He added later, “The Taliban’s attitudes towards women and their individual right should not be accepted by the international sporting community.” The ICC noted that it has been monitoring the “changing situation in Afghanistan.”  

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: INDIA.COM

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