From swimming to soccer, operating to horse driving, Afghanistan‘s new sports activities chief stated Tuesday that the Taliban will enable 400 sports activities — however declined to verify if ladies can play a single one.
“Please don’t ask extra questions on ladies,” Bashir Ahmad Rustamzai instructed AFP, from an armchair the place Afghanistan’s Olympic Committee president had sat till he fled the nation final month.
Rustamzai, a heavily-built former kung fu and wrestling champion with a bushy black and white beard, was appointed by the hardline Islamist group to be Afghanistan’s director normal for sports activities and bodily training.
Once the wrestling federation chief when the Taliban had been final in energy, Rustamzai then labored with the Western-backed authorities, earlier than falling out with them as a result of of “their widespread corruption,” he stated.
‘We won’t ban any sport’
Dressed in a black turban typical of the Taliban, Rustamzai repeatedly ducked questions on the difficulty of ladies’s sports activities.
During the extremists’ brutal and oppressive regime from 1996 to 2001, ladies had been fully banned from enjoying any sport whereas males’s sport was tightly managed. Women had been additionally largely banned from training and work.
Sports stadiums had been repeatedly used for public executions.
“We won’t ban any sport, until it doesn’t adjust to sharia regulation… there are 400 sort of sports activities allowed,” Rustamzai stated.
Shortly after, he watched an illustration by younger Afghan males, some zooming round on curler blades, and waving the white Taliban flag.
Rustamzai stated that abiding by Islamic regulation meant little change in follow in comparison with different nations.
“It doesn’t change a lot,” he stated, noting it might require, for instance, soccer gamers or Muay Thai boxers to put on “shorts just a little longer, which fall beneath the knee”.
Pushed on ladies’s participation, he stated he was nonetheless awaiting decrees from the highest Taliban management.
“We can think about the identical factor as in universities: permitting ladies to play sports activities, however individually from males,” one of his advisors stated.
But Rustamzai wouldn’t verify that immediately.
New guidelines on universities enable for ladies to proceed finding out so long as they’re strictly segregated from males, and cling to a gown code of an abaya gown and niqab face veil. The curriculum may even be managed.
For now, the indications look bleak for ladies.
Last week, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural fee, Ahmadullah Wasiq, stated that it was “not needed” for ladies to play sport.
“In cricket, they could face a state of affairs the place their face and physique won’t be lined,” Wasiq instructed Australian broadcaster SBS. “Islam doesn’t enable ladies to be seen like this.”
But the Taliban are already below stress, particularly for cricket, the place worldwide rules state that nations should even have an lively ladies’s workforce to participate in Test matches.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman Azizullah Fazli later instructed SBS Radio Pashto he was nonetheless hopeful ladies will have the ability to play.
“Very quickly, we offers you excellent news on how we’ll proceed,” he stated.
But Rustamzai distanced himself from the long run of ladies’s sport.
“The opinions of our elders (senior Taliban) are essential,” he stated. “If they ask us to authorise ladies, we’ll — in any other case, we won’t. We await their announcement.”
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