Pakistan Football Association officials were waiting for the athletes. “We welcome the Afghan women’s soccer team,” Information Minister Fuad Chaudhry wrote on Twitter. The ceremony was later received with wreaths in Lahore.
According to Agence France-Presse, most of them are members of the Afghan youth team. Most athletes will travel to other countries within a few weeks. Other footballers left early this month, with the help of Australia.
Female athletes in Afghanistan are anxiously awaiting what the future holds for them, as the conservative Taliban has seized power. In their previous era, from 1996 to 2001, women’s sports were completely banned.
Nothing is milder
Suggestions that the new Taliban regime would be more lenient have yet to materialize. Spokesmen for the movement say that women can participate in social life “within the framework of Sharia,” but this was also their official policy in the late 1990s.
The deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural committee, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said last week that outdoor sports for women should be out of the question anyway. He said that in relation to cricket, but it has been extended to all other sports.
“They can get into a situation where they don’t cover their faces and bodies,” Wassiq told Australia’s SBS channel. “Islam does not allow women to see this way.” Plus, he said, photos and videos can be taken so more people can see them.
Australia’s cricket association, the Australian cricket association, has threatened to ban the Afghan men’s team from an exhibition game in November if the Taliban pressures the ban on women. Wasiq said the men could simply travel to Australia. “The growth of women’s cricket is very important to Cricket Australia,” the association said.
A number of female mathematicians did not wait for developments and left the country earlier. In early September, dozens of members of the Afghan women’s soccer team (the elderly) were evacuated from Kabul with the help of the Australian government. Humanitarian visas were issued to a group of 77 people. According to Australian media, the evacuation has now gone the usual way, with desperate paper-carrying Afghans wading through open sewers for hours to get to the airport.
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee said last week that it had helped about 100 members of Afghanistan’s “Olympic community”, both men and women, to leave the country. In addition, the Afghan participants in the Tokyo Paralympics did not return to their country.
Women’s sports have flourished in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. Women have also come out on top in usually masculine sports such as soccer and boxing.
Three years ago, members of the Afghan women’s soccer team came out with allegations of sexual assault by Afghan Football Association managers and employees. President Ashraf Ghani and FIFA have launched investigations.
Captain Khaleda Popal focused particularly on AFF President Keramuddin Karim. He would not only silence the victims with threats, but also participate in the abuse itself. To this end, according to Popal, he had a room with a bed in his office.
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