Afghan Women to be Banned from Playing Sports, Taliban Says

Afghan women will be banned from playing sports that will “expose their bodies” to the media, a Taliban official said on Sept. 8.

In an interview with Australian broadcaster SBS News, Taliban’s Cultural Commission Deputy Head Ahmadullah Wasiq confirmed that women in Afghanistan will not be allowed to play cricket or any other sport because Islam “does not allow women to be seen” with their faces and bodies uncovered.

“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,” Wasiq said.

Wasiq also said that sports was not considered necessary for women.

Afghanistan’s national men’s cricket team is set to travel to Australia for a test match in Hobart later this year, but Wasiq’s comments put the match and the Afghan team in doubt.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) requires its full members to have a national women’s team and only full members are allowed to play test matches.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board said that the Taliban has not officially informed them about the future of the women’s cricket team, but they have suspended their program for girls.

Australian Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said in a statement to SBS News that the Taliban’s decision was “deeply concerning,” urging international sports authorities to stand against the “appalling” ruling.

An ICC Spokesperson told SBS News that the body will discuss the ban.

However, Wasiq said in the interview that the Taliban “will not cross Islamic values even if it carries opposite reactions. We will not leave our Islamic rules.”

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