According to a senior official with Australia’s public broadcaster SBS, the newly installed Taliban regime will prohibit Afghan women from participating in cricket and other sports in which their bodies could be seen.
“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” said Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, according to SBS.
With the announcement of the newly elected cabinet of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA) in the Taliban’s non-time bound interim government, statements and orders from various ministries have begun to emerge, putting the issue of acceptance and legitimacy of the group’s rule in the country under serious scrutiny.
Women have been barred from playing cricket or any other sport in which their bodies can be seen as a result of a decision made by the IEA’s cultural commission.
“It wasn’t necessary for women to play cricket because they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this”, said Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of Taliban’s cultural commission, during an interview with SBS News.
The decision has raised numerous concerns about Afghanistan’s future in international cricket and other sports.
The ban has already elicited strong reactions, with Cricket Australia stating that if women are not allowed to play the sport under the Taliban regime, the upcoming Test match against Afghanistan, scheduled for November this year, will be cancelled.
“If recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no other alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed Test Match due to be played in Hobart,” said Australian Sports minister Richard Colbeck.
“Individual Afghanistan athletes would continue to be welcome in Australia but not under the Taliban flag if females cannot compete.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has also stated that the issue of Afghanistan’s new status will be discussed at the organization’s next board meeting.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said it is closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and is concerned about reports of women being barred from playing cricket.
“This and the impact it will have on the continued development of the game will be discussed by the ICC Board and its next meeting,” said a Council spokesperson.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board, on the other hand, expected such a stance from the Taliban-led government and admitted that the women’s game was in jeopardy.
Afghanistan’s men’s cricket team is an ICC full member and will compete in the T20 World Cup.
However, with the country’s ban on female cricket and sports, cricket officials are now considering the implications of the ICC’s recognition of Afghanistan, the only country to be granted full membership status to the ICC despite not having an operational women’s team.