Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Chairman Azizullah Fazli has said the Taliban-led government has not “officially” banned women’s sport, especially cricket, as he turned down speculation’s about the newly formed setup having problems with female participation in sports.
“We have spoken to the top Taliban government officials and their stance is that there is officially no ban on women’s sport, especially women’s cricket,” Fazli told Al Jazeera.
Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, there have been concerns regarding women’s sports in the country, with several female athletes fleeing Kabul.
Fazli told the publication that the Taliban did not have a “problem” with women’s participation in sports and that there was no official policy of stopping them from partaking in it.
“But what we need to keep in mind is our religion and culture. If women adhere to that [attire], there is no problem in them taking part in sporting activities. Islam doesn’t allow women to wear shorts like the other teams do while playing football especially. That’s something we need to keep in mind,” the ACB chief said.
On the country’s preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup, he said the team had been training for the last two months, even after the group took over Kabul. “They said they support cricket and are fully behind the development of the game.”
Fazli said the Taliban had assured him there would be “no political interference” in cricket and other sports.
Speaking about the situation in the country, he said it was “great”, as there was no ongoing fighting — apart from isolated events. The ACB chief said before the group took charge, several people were killed on a daily basis.
“The security situation is great and the future is bright from Afghanistan cricket,” Fazli said.
On ICC’s review of Afghanistan’s full member status, the ACB chief said the international cricket body had granted Kabul the status back in 2017 — and it had no clause of expulsion in case there was no women’s team.
“We do want to have the team, of course,” he added.