ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – A senior official in Taliban-led Afghanistan has assured players they can continue playing cricket in the conflict-torn country.
The assurance comes as the South Asian nation risks international isolation after the Taliban returned to power last August, raising fears that the Islamist group will allow women to practice the sport.
“Our girls will play cricket normally, and we are looking to provide them with their basic needs and all the facilities they need,” said Mirwais Ashraf, acting director of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, or ACB. internal meeting.
Ashraf stressed that the development of women’s cricket is a major requirement for members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body, and they are committed to achieving it, according to the ACB statement released. Tuesday.
Last week, the ICC announced it was setting up a task force to examine the future of the Afghan cricket program under the Taliban government.
“The ICC Board of Directors is committed to continuing to support Afghanistan Cricket to develop men’s and women’s cricket in the future,” ICC President Greg Barclay said in a statement while announcing the formation of the working group.
“We believe that the most effective way to achieve this will be to support our member in their efforts to achieve this through their relationship with the new [Taliban] government, ”Barclay said.
The Afghan men’s team’s rise to international cricket in a remarkably short span of time, despite years of war and high levels of poverty in the country, has won it acclaim on the international stage.
“We must protect this status and continue to try to influence change through the ACB, but will continue to monitor the situation closely and take any decisions accordingly,” said the President of the ICC.
The Taliban assured the world that they would not reintroduce the harsh Islamic regime of their previous government from 1996 to 2001, when women were not allowed to leave home unless accompanied by a close male relative. and most girls get an education.
The current Taliban administration allowed the boys to return to school in September, but asked the girls to stay home until arrangements are made for them to return to class in a “safe environment.” “.
The decision drew global condemnation, but the Taliban have since allowed girls to return to school in several provinces of Afghanistan and their numbers are steadily increasing.
Critics remain skeptical about whether the hard-line group will stick to its commitments to protect human rights, especially those of women and girls.
Taliban decree targets ‘immoral’ Afghan TV shows featuring female artists
Earlier this week, the Taliban ordered Afghan TV stations to stop broadcasting entertainment shows, dramas and films featuring female artists.
The edict said female news anchors must wear hijabs in accordance with the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law or Sharia law.