Afghanistan’s Female Athletes Pushed Behind Walls and Forgotten

Afghan women entertained the golden opportunity to practice their rights and emerge on the screens in different aspects and they did make the best use of the opportunity. We had women in every institution, playing their role, especially sports. Now, after two decades, with the returning of the Taliban in power, women are pushed back and locked in the cages behind the house walls. Sports girls and women believe that they themselves and their achievements are gradually being forgotten by the current extremist rulers who have made a hell out of the country.

In the last 20 years, many girls had  entered the sport fields. These enthusiasts used to go to gyms and exercise every day. Football, volleyball, karate, taekwondo, cycling and rugby were more popular among girls than other sports. Girls fought many difficulties in the traditional society of Afghanistan to achieve their dreams and to be able to exercise freely like boys.

With the collapse of the government, everything changed. Girls are banned from going to the stadiums. Currently, no girl represents Afghanistan in the sports arenas.

Most of these girls are forced to leave the country after the fall of Kabul and a number of others who are in Afghanistan are at home and living a depress live with an uncertain future.

Zuhal Hamidi (not real name) is one of the female athletes of the country, who is 19 years old and a former member of the rugby team. She is one of the medal winners of the rugby team, who secured the  first position among Asian countries. Besides being a member of the country’s national team, Zuhal has served as a coach in one of the girls’ schools too.

The day on which the Taliban came to Kabul, she had gone to the gym that morning to exercise; what she had to do every day.

“When I remember that day, I get so upset because that day, I had decided that I would make a team with the girls who are interested, so that in the future we would be ready for outside competitions,” Zuhal said. “Like this, I had thousands of other hopes in my head, but maybe it was our destiny.”

Shukria Hojjat is a karate athlete, who has worked hard on building a career in this field for seven years. Mrs. Hojjat said; “The National Olympic Committee has forgotten all of us. We have called the committee several time, but it seems that the organization has forgotten us. Their only answer was that they [the Taliban] do not reopen girls’ schools, for sure, they (Taliban) will not permit girls to attend sports.”

She has won 11 medals including gold, silver and bronze within the  seven years of her  career in this field.

Zahra Atai is another athlete who was a member of the cycling team before the fall of Kabul. Besides cycling, Atai was also a member of the demining team. She said that after the collapse of Kabul to the Taliban, she was in Bamiyan and had lost hope of continuing to live in Afghanistan.

Another athlete is Freshta Mehr Ayeen who is a cyclist. She has been a member of one of the cycling teams in Bamiyan for four years. Freshta said when the Taliban entered Kabul, I was in Bamyan and I was looking for a way to escape every day for fear that the Taliban would torture or kill me.

Since the Taliban regime have seized power, the leaders of this group, contrary to their promises in the Doha agreement, have used the same strict laws of the 90s against girls and women.

With the fall of Kabul to Taliban’s control, the group closed all the education doors to girls and pushed back the women and girls behind the house walls. Since August 2021, girls and women are removed from the screens such as: politics, sports and education. Despite the group’s repeated promises to reopen education doors to girls, girls  still do not have the right to go to school or to exercise their basic rights of access to any type of education.

In the very first days of Kabul collapse, on the bases of promises and commitment that Taliban had made to international community and image that the Taliban’s lobbyists had portrayed, it was expected the group would act very differently than their time in 1990. But it did not happen and the group proved against the expectation and commitments.

The holey book which is totally miss interpreted by Taliban has not banned or forbidden education and participations of women in serving the human society, but Taliban, on the bases of vague arguments and miss leading interpretation of the book has taken the girls education in hostage to gain negotiation power on the table. But the Taliban has failed very dramatically in this game. In contrast to gain leverage by taking the human rights and women’s rights in hostage, the international community has totally boycotted the group. The investment strategies of the donor community have shifted to survival strategies and the interaction channel with Afghan people are NGOs not the Taliban.


The post Afghanistan’s Female Athletes Pushed Behind Walls and Forgotten appeared first on Hasht-e Subh Daily.

Source: Hasht-e Subh Daily

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