• Sunday, Sep 19, 2021
  • Last Update : 07:00 pm

Taliban allowing 400 'men's sports', mum about women

  • Published at 08:27 pm September 15th, 2021
afghan women

Last week, the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said that it was "not necessary" for women to play sport

From swimming to soccer, running to horse riding, Afghanistan's new sports chief said Tuesday that the Taliban will allow 400 sports -- but declined to confirm if women can play a single one.

"Please don't ask more questions about women," Bashir Ahmad Rustamzai told AFP, from an armchair where Afghanistan's Olympic Committee president had sat until he fled the country last 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 general for sports and physical education.

Once the wrestling federation chief when the Taliban were last in power, Rustamzai then worked with the Western-backed government, before falling out with them because of "their widespread corruption," he said.

'We will not ban any sport'  

Dressed in a black turban typical of the Taliban, Rustamzai repeatedly ducked questions on the issue of women's sports.

During the extremists' brutal and oppressive regime from 1996 to 2001, women were completely banned from playing any sport while men's sport was tightly controlled. Women were also largely banned from education and work.


Also Read - Afghan board committed to women's cricket


Sports stadiums were regularly used for public executions.

"We will not ban any sport, unless it does not comply with sharia law... there are 400 type of sports allowed," Rustamzai said.

Shortly after, he watched a demonstration by young Afghan men, some zooming around on roller blades, and waving the white Taliban flag.

Rustamzai said that abiding by Islamic law meant little change in practice compared to other countries.

"It doesn't change much," he said, noting it would require, for example, football players or Muay Thai boxers to wear "shorts a little longer, which fall below the knee".

Pushed on women's participation, he said he was still awaiting decrees from the top Taliban leadership.

"We can imagine the same thing as in universities: allowing women to play sports, but separately from men," one of his advisors said. 

But Rustamzai would not confirm that directly.

New rules on universities allow for women to continue studying as long as they are strictly segregated from men, and adhere to a dress code of an abaya robe and niqab face veil. The curriculum will also be controlled.


Also Read - UN concerned about Afghan women's rights under Taliban


Segregated sport?

For now, the indications look bleak for women. 

Last week, the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said that it was "not necessary" for women to play sport.

"In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered," Wasiq told Australian broadcaster SBS. "Islam does not allow women to be seen like this."

But the Taliban are already under pressure, especially for cricket, where international regulations state that nations must also have an active women's team to take part in Test matches.

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman Azizullah Fazli later told SBS Radio Pashto he was still hopeful women will be able to play.

"Very soon, we will give you good news on how we will proceed," he said.

But Rustamzai distanced himself from the future of women's sport.

"The opinions of our elders (senior Taliban) are important," he said. "If they ask us to authorise women, we will -- otherwise, we will not. We await their announcement."      


52
Facebook 51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail