Taliban to ban women from sport in new crackdown on women’s rights

Kabul: Taliban clash with women's rights protesters

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Speaking to Australian news outlet SBS TV, Wasiq singled out cricket as an example of the Taliban’s stance on women’s sport. “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,” he said.

“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 new Taliban government, not recognised by many countries as legitimate, is entirely made up of an all-male cabinet.

This interim government is populated by familiar faces from Taliban leadership of the last twenty years, and their rule during the 1990s until 2001.

Excluding women from sport, and from freely moving outside of their homes, is a return to the policies of this previous Taliban rule.

During this time, women were not allowed to leave their houses without a male chaperone.

Speaking to Swedish outlet Expressen, Afghanistan’s goalkeeping coach, Wida Zemarai warned of the peril female athletes face under the new Taliban regime.

She has maintained contact with players now threatened by the interim government.

“’Let’s say that the Taliban recognise a player,” she hypothesised. “They just pick out the player, torture her and get information about where the rest of the players are.”

These women often stare down grave danger and potential backlash to show their dissent.

Protesting in public breaks the stay-at-home order issued by Taliban leaders, described by them as a “temporary measure.”

The Taliban had publicly promised to allow women to reclaim their positions in the workplace, but the continuing suppression of women’s rights undermines these commitments made in the initial stages of the Taliban takeover.

The UK Foreign Office stated that they would “judge the Taliban by its actions, not by its words.” However, many of its words have proved difficult to believe in the aftermath of the Taliban victory in August.

The European Union also condemned the makeup of the new Taliban government. EU spokesperson, Peter Stano, said: “it does not look like the inclusive and representative formation of Afghanistan’s rich ethnic and religious diversity that we had hoped to see and that the Taliban promised in recent weeks.”

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US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said on Wednesday that the Taliban’s new government “certainly does not meet the test of inclusivity and it includes people who have very challenging track records.”

Featuring in the interim cabinet is Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is assuming the position of interior minister, features on the FBI’s most-wanted list.

German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, joined Secretary of State Blinken in a press conference yesterday.

He predicted a “serious humanitarian crisis” which must be avoided “at all costs.”

Alongside the crushing of women’s rights, there have been numerous reports of attacks on journalists. They are further evidence of the robbing of freedoms and liberties from Afghans under the new Taliban regime.

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