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Calls to Ban Afghanistan From Cricket Grow Over Policies Targeting Women

© AP Photo / Ebrahim NorooziArefeh 40-year-old, an Afghan woman leaves an underground school, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 30, 2022.
Arefeh 40-year-old, an Afghan woman leaves an underground school, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 30, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 16.01.2023
Afghanistan faces a risk of isolation from global sports bodies over recently-introduced policies concerning women, including a blanket ban on their education.
Human Rights Watch, an international advocacy group, hsa urged the International Cricket Council (ICC), cricket's global governing body, to suspend Afghanistan's ICC membership over policies regarding Afghan women.
At present, Afghanistan's men's team is allowed to participate in international cricket competitions — but it is the only full ICC member not having a women's side.
Minky Worden, the director of Human Right Watch, suggested in a statement on Sunday that Afghanistan should be banned from taking part in all forms of cricket until the Taliban* allows women and girls to attend schools, colleges, and universities.

Worden stated that "the Taliban have imposed a long and growing list of rules and policies that comprehensively prevent women and girls from exercising their fundamental rights" and even threatened Afghan women athletes.

"The Taliban forcibly closed training centers and threatened athletes with violence, athletes have reported. As a result, some Afghan women and girl athletes went into hiding and sought to destroy evidence of their ties to sport, including medals and sport kits. Many athletes remain in Afghanistan, unable to safely train and play their sports," she stated.
An Afghan woman poses for a photo with her cricket bat in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 13.01.2023
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Australia Cancels Afghan Series Over Taliban's Women Rights Record
Worden's remarks come days after the Australian government decided to withdraw its men's cricket team from a three-match ODI series against Afghanistan scheduled to be held in the UAE in March. The Australian government fully supported CA's decision.
"The Australian Government welcomes Cricket Australia's decision to withdraw from the upcoming men's One-Day International series against Afghanistan, following the Taliban's increased suppression of women and girls' rights," Australian Minister for Sport Anika Wells said on Twitter.

Current Stance of Women's Rights in Afghanistan

Since taking power in Kabul in August 2021, the Taliban have announced a slew of measures that the global community has dubbed an "attack" on women's rights in the country.
In the latest move in December, Afghan women were barred from studying in universities.
It was another blow in a long list of setbacks to women and girls of the war-ravaged nation after the Taliban previously excluded them from secondary education.
A classroom that previously was used for girls sits empty in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 28.12.2022
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Afghan Professor Tears Up Diplomas on Live TV Over Ban Against Educating Women
Among other restrictions, women are barred from visiting parks, working out in gyms, and taking public baths.
Additionally, they were banned from working in NGOs last month, literally excluding them from almost all forms of employment after the Taliban previously ordered that women would not be permitted in government offices.
Other restrictions for women and girls are that they are required to be accompanied by a male guardian, such as their husband, father or brother, and obliged to wear the head-to-toe burqa when going out.
* under UN sanctions for terrorist activities