Even as Pakistan is criticised for providing safe haven to Taliban militants all these years, popular cricketer Shahid Afridi has hailed the extremist group while violence has starkly risen in the recent weeks after the US withdrew its troops in Afghanistan.
'Taliban Comes to Power with Positive Frame of Mind'
A Pakistani journalist has posted a video on Twitter in which Shahid Afridi is speaking about the Taliban. Speaking with reporters, the retired cricketer said that the group has come to power with "a positive frame of mind" this time.
Explaining further, Afridi said: "They're permitting women to work in various fields including politics." He also felt that the new regime encourages cricket. "Taliban loves cricket and it is supporting a series against Pakistan as well. It is very positive towards cricket," Afridi added.
His comments are in line with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's view on the militant group as he had endorsed the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban by claiming that the insurgent group had "broken the chains of slavery".
Why Did Afghan Athletes Flee the Country?
However, his comments have met with severe criticism as many Afghan sportsmen have left the country because of fear of persecution. Notably, over 70 soccer players fled to different countries after the Taliban takeover.
"The Taliban never change and they are more dangerous than they were twenty years ago. I am very sad because the rest of the countries are moving forward and ours is going backwards, especially for the women, who are in danger, cannot work and have no rights," Nilofar Bayat, a lawyer, and captain of the Afghan women's wheelchair basketball team said, as per Iberian press after landing in Spain.
Check Out How People's Reaction to Afridi's Statement on Twitter:
Rajiv Nema Indori: Flushed face Will there be a statement tomorrow from
@SAfridiOfficial saying his comments were taken out of context? Flushed face
#afridi #shahidafridi #taliban
Gitanjali D.SFlag of India: Wow Star-struck
After allowing women to work & so called #WomenEmpowerment #Taliban shud come up with #TalibanPremierLeague & this positive minded #Afridi shall play free for #Charity sake in #TPL
TiwariJi: @SAfridiOfficial Good that your Ass brecked out for Talabin. No other way to self save guard. #AFRIDI
Pankaj Jain: #afridi may be next #Talibans pm g
Amey MM: And Taliban declare #Afridi as their First Captain Squinting face with tongueSquinting face with tongueSquinting face with tongueSquinting face with tongue
Apoorva Sharma: agar koi apni autobiography me likhta hai ki apni beti ko sportswoman nahi banne dega kyunki wo ladkiyon ke kaam nahi hotey, to wo talibani hi hoga na. Afridi jaise ke liye itna shor kyun??
Harishï£¿: #Afridi is batting for #taliban and calling them cricket lovers, that they will allow women to work and are progressive. However, do you know he himself does not want his daughters to play cricket. Kyu mia @SAfridiOfficial why so regressive.
Meanwhile, the US' longest war came to an end after the last troops left Afghanistan on Monday, 31 August.