The Taliban have imposed a sports ban on Afghan women saying it would expose their bodies in media, local reports said Wednesday. This comes a day following the announcement of an all-male Taliban cabinet in Afghanistan.
Khaama Press, citing reports, quoted Ahmadullah Wasiq, the deputy head of the fundamentalist group's Cultural Commission, saying that sports were unnecessary for women of the country. The diktat reportedly also includes a ban on cricket.
The Afghanistan cricket board, uncertain of the future of sports under the new regime known for its orthodoxy and repression of gender rights, was awaiting word on whether the women's game would be permitted to continue and how, as per Reuters.
25 cricketers were reportedly given contracts to play last year, after a long period of women's absence from the pitch. The exclusion is now likely to continue.
Sports Ban On Afghan Women: What Does It Spell For Gender Rights?
Since seizing power in Afghanistan on August 15, the Taliban through their media representatives have sought to offer assurance on the preservation of women's rights and representation in the country - a dialogue widely dismissed by Afghan women activists and speakers as empty. Restrictions on their lives under the Taliban were anticipated as between 1996 and 2001 when the group last ruled.
Amid the evacuation chaos ensuing the Taliban takeover last month, the Afghan women's football team was "miraculously" saved through an internationally coordinated plan. Read here. Mounting fears, justified, as is now being proved, had even prompted Afghan sportswomen to press for the erasure of their identities for safety.
Taliban leaders have called for the Islamic sharia law to be imposed in Afghanistan, governing the limits of rights women will be able to access. During their previous rule, the group was known for their harsh reading of sharia, under which stonings and death penalties were common.
Afghan women over the week, in parts of Kabul and Herat, have been out protesting on the streets in demand for political representation, education and work rights, and freedom of speech in the country. Read more here.