Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

FILE – A volunteer holds up nation’s signal for Afghan males’s solely group throughout a welcoming ceremony on the nineteenth Asian Video games in Hangzhou, China, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Picture/Louise Delmotte, File)

HANGZHOU, China — Within the first Asian Video games because the Taliban regained management of Afghanistan, two groups of athletes are arriving within the Chinese language metropolis of Hangzhou, trying very completely different.

One, despatched from Afghanistan the place ladies are actually banned by the Taliban from taking part in sports activities, consists of about 130 all-male athletes, who will take part in 17 completely different sports activities, together with volleyball, judo and wrestling, Atel Mashwani, a Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Afghanistan’s Olympic Committee, instructed The Related Press.

One other, competing beneath the black, pink and inexperienced flag of the elected authorities the Taliban toppled in 2021, is drawn from the diaspora of Afghan athletes around the globe, and contains 17 ladies, in keeping with Hafizullah Wali Rahimi, the president of Afghanistan’s Nationwide Olympic Committee from earlier than the Taliban took over.

Rahimi, who now works from outdoors Afghanistan however continues to be acknowledged by many nations as its official consultant on Olympic issues, instructed reporters on the group’s official arrival ceremony late Thursday that the athletes are there for the love of sports activities.

“We need to be preserving the sports activities fully out of the politics so the athletes can freely, inside and out of doors their nation, do their sports activities exercise and improvement,” he stated.

Rahimi’s contingent on the welcome ceremony was completely male, however he stated the ladies had been on their method, consisting of a volleyball group which were coaching in Iran, cyclists from Italy, and a consultant for athletics from Australia.

He didn’t reply to an emailed request on Friday in search of extra particulars.

Though the Taliban promised a extra reasonable rule than throughout their earlier interval in energy within the Nineteen Nineties, they’ve imposed harsh measures since seizing Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO forces had been pulling out after 20 years of warfare.

They’ve barred ladies from most areas of public life comparable to parks, gyms and work and cracked down on media freedoms. They’ve banned women from going to highschool past the sixth grade, and prohibited Afghan ladies from working at native and non-governmental organizations. The ban was prolonged to workers of the United Nations in April.

The measures have triggered a fierce worldwide uproar, rising the nation’s isolation at a time when its financial system has collapsed and worsening a humanitarian disaster.

Rahimi stated that the earlier authorities had been working laborious to extend ladies’s participation in sport because the earlier Taliban regime, and that it had elevated to twenty%.

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“We hope it comes again, in fact,” he stated. “Not solely the game, we hope that they’ll be again allowed to varsities and schooling, as a result of that’s the fundamental rights of a human.”

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