‘It is not necessary’: Taliban says women in Afghanistan will be banned from playing sport

Women won’t be allowed to play any sport which will ‘expose them or their bodies to the media’

Maroosha Muzaffar
Wednesday 08 September 2021 17:36 BST
Afghan women take part in a protest march for their rights under the Taliban rule in the downtown area of Kabul on 3 September 2021
Afghan women take part in a protest march for their rights under the Taliban rule in the downtown area of Kabul on 3 September 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)

Women in Afghanistan will be prohibited from playing any kind of sport that will “expose their bodies” to the media, a Taliban cultural commission official has said.

In an interview with Australian broadcaster SBS, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said that sport is not seen as important for women and that Islam does not permit women to risk exposing their bodies

Mr Wasiq said: “I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket.” He added: “In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this.”

Mr Wasiq emphasised, “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.”

An Afghanistan Cricket Board official had last month said that the Taliban would allow men’s cricket to continue and that the Australian tour scheduled for later this year would go ahead as planned.

However, the future of Afghanistan’s women’s sporting teams remains in doubt.

The officials at the Afghanistan Cricket Board have said that they have not been informed by the Taliban officially about the women’s cricket team’s future. But it has suspended its programme for girls.

Mr Wasiq told SBS that the Taliban “would not compromise”. He said: “If we face challenges and problems, we have fought for our religion so that Islam is to be followed. We will not cross Islamic values even if it carries opposite reactions. We will not leave our Islamic rules.”

He said that “Islam allows women to go out on a needs basis such as for shopping” but he added that “sport is not considered a need”.

Mr Wasiq said in the interview: “In cricket and other sports, women will not get an Islamic dress code. It is obvious that they will get exposed and will not follow the dress code, and Islam does not allow that.”

Meanwhile, speaking to the BBC, several members of the Afghanistan women’s cricket team said that the Taliban was targeting women players and had issued threats to them if they played again.

The Taliban announced their interim government on Tuesday but no women were included. Mullah Hassan Akhund was named head of the caretaker cabinet and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and the chief negotiator with the United States, will serve as his deputy.

Meanwhile, the Australian government has urged the International Cricket Council to take a stand against the Taliban on women in sport, describing the new regime’s stand as “appalling.”

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