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A whole bunch of sports activities allowed, Taliban promise – if you happen to’re a person

KABUL: From swimming to soccer, operating to horse driving, Afghanistan’s new sports activities chief mentioned on Tuesday (Sep 14) that the Taliban will enable 400 sports activities – however declined to verify if girls can play a single one.

“Please do not ask extra questions on girls,” Bashir Ahmad Rustamzai informed AFP, from an armchair the place Afghanistan’s Olympic Committee president had sat till he fled the nation final month.

Rustamzai, a heavily-built former kung fu and wrestling champion with a bushy black and white beard, was appointed by the hardline Islamist group to be Afghanistan’s director basic for sports activities and bodily schooling.

As soon as the wrestling federation chief when the Taliban had been final in energy, Rustamzai then labored with the Western-backed authorities, earlier than falling out with them due to “their widespread corruption,” he mentioned.


Wearing a black turban typical of the Taliban, Rustamzai repeatedly ducked questions on the difficulty of girls’s sports activities.

Throughout the extremists’ brutal and oppressive regime from 1996 to 2001, girls had been utterly banned from enjoying any sport whereas males’s sport was tightly managed. Ladies had been additionally largely banned from schooling and work.

Sports activities stadiums had been frequently used for public executions.

“We won’t ban any sport, except it doesn’t adjust to sharia regulation … there are 400 kind of sports activities allowed,” Rustamzai mentioned.

Shortly after, he watched an illustration by younger Afghan males, some zooming round on curler blades, and waving the white Taliban flag.

Rustamzai mentioned that abiding by Islamic regulation meant little change in follow in comparison with different nations.

“It does not change a lot,” he mentioned, noting it might require, for instance, soccer gamers or Muay Thai boxers to put on “shorts a little bit longer, which fall under the knee”.

Pushed on girls’s participation, he mentioned he was nonetheless awaiting decrees from the highest Taliban management.

“We are able to think about the identical factor as in universities: permitting girls to play sports activities, however individually from males,” one among his advisors mentioned.

However Rustamzai wouldn’t affirm that straight.

New guidelines on universities enable for girls to proceed learning so long as they’re strictly segregated from males, and cling to a costume code of an abaya gown and niqab face veil. The curriculum will even be managed.


For now, the indications look bleak for girls.

Final week, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural fee, Ahmadullah Wasiq, mentioned that it was “not crucial” for girls to play sport.

“In cricket, they may face a state of affairs the place their face and physique won’t be lined,” Wasiq informed Australian broadcaster SBS. “Islam doesn’t enable girls to be seen like this.”

However the Taliban are already beneath stress, particularly for cricket, the place worldwide rules state that nations should even have an energetic girls’s group to participate in Check matches.

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman Azizullah Fazli later informed SBS Radio Pashto he was nonetheless hopeful girls will be capable of play.

“Very quickly, we offers you excellent news on how we’ll proceed,” he mentioned.

However Rustamzai distanced himself from the way forward for girls’s sport.

“The opinions of our elders (senior Taliban) are necessary,” he mentioned. “In the event that they ask us to authorise girls, we’ll – in any other case, we won’t. We await their announcement.”


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