Afghan women won't be allowed to participate in any kind of sports as that would expose their face and body, the Taliban said on Wednesday. This includes the Taliban women's cricket team that was making its presence felt in the international arena. The ban will be soon made official, according to reports.
Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, said in an interview with the Australian broadcaster SBS that women's sport was considered neither appropriate nor necessary. The news comes less than a day after the Taliban announced its new 'acting' government.
Wasiq confirmed the Taliban's Sharia law interpretation regarding women's sport and said that if women participate in sports, "their face and body will not be covered," which won't be allowed under the new regime. "I don't think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket," Wasiq told during the interview.
Wasiq gave his strange justification under the garb of Sharia law. '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. It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed."
The decision hasn't been made official but that's just a matter of time. Moreover, Wasiq's comments come just a day after the US state department expressed concern that the new cabinet included only Taliban, no women, and personalities with troubling track records, but said the new administration would be judged by its actions.
No Country for Women
The Taliban before announcing its new 'acting' government had said that women would be allowed to work but given their past record and they way they have been treating women, such hopes are fast fading. Earlier this week, the Taliban decreed that only a woman teacher would teach female students but if that was not possible then "old men" of good character could fill in.
On Tuesday, photos emerged on social media that showed Afghan women and men separated by a curtain in a classroom. A few days back, the Taliban announced that women attending private Afghan universities must wear an abaya robe (full-length dress) and niqab (garment that covers the face).
On Wednesday, new footage emerged which shows a group of women locked in the basement of a bank to prevent them from taking part in protests.
That said, a ban on sport was foreseeable given that during the Taliban rule in 1996 to 2001, many sports and recreational activities including football were banned for all citizens.
Women were forbidden from even leaving the house without being accompanied by a male relative and were often subjected to horrific sexual attacks. Playing sports was a distant dream.
Anticipating that such a step would be taken anytime, many of the international sporting stars have gone into hiding as they fear being captured and beaten by the militants.