Kabul: Taliban clash with women's rights protesters

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The Taliban are set to ban women from participating in sport after citing concerns about gender and Islam. Speaking to Australian broadcaster SBS, the Taliban’s Ahmadullah Wasiq said: “I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket.”

“In cricket,” Wasiq continued, “they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered.”

The deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission added: “Islam does not allow women to be seen like this.

“It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it.

Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed.”

The International Cricket Council responded by expressing their concerns over the move.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “The ICC has been monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and is concerned to note recent media reports that women will no longer be allowed to play cricket.”

They added: “The ICC is committed to the long-term growth of women’s cricket and despite the cultural and religious challenges in Afghanistan, steady progress had been made in this area since Afghanistan’s admission as a full member in 2017.”

Last week, the BBC spoke to members of the women’s cricket team in Afghanistan.

“Every woman playing cricket or other sports is not safe right now,” one female Afghan cricketer said.

“The village where they play cricket, some people who knew them are working with the Taliban.

“When the Taliban came here and took Kabul they threatened them, saying, ‘We may come and kill you if you try to play cricket again’.”

But Wasiq’s announcement comes after the Taliban established a new interim government in Kabul.

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The jihadist group opted to enlist their most loyal followers when they promoted only men to Kabul’s key governmental posts.

The Taliban previously suggested it would form an inclusive administration.

The group has also broken up dozens of women protesting in the Afghan capital over women’s rights.

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