From swimming to soccer, operating to horse driving, Afghanistan’s new sports chief has stated the Taliban will allow 400 sports — however declined to substantiate if ladies can play a single one.
“Please don’t ask more questions about women,” Bashir Ahmad Rustamzai advised 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-general for sports 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 hem as a result of of “their widespread corruption,” he stated.
WE WILL NOT BAN ANY SPORT
Dressed in a black turban typical of the Taliban, Rustamzai repeatedly ducked questions on the problem of women’s sports.
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 often used for public executions.
“We will not ban any sport, unless it does not comply with sharia law… there are 400 type of sports allowed,” Rustamzai stated.
Shortly after, he watched an indication 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 observe in comparison with different nations.
“It doesn’t change much,” he stated, noting it will require, for instance, soccer gamers or Muay Thai boxers to put on “shorts a little longer, which fall below the knee”.
Pushed on women’s participation, he stated he was nonetheless awaiting decrees from the highest Taliban management.
“We can imagine the same thing as in universities: allowing women to play sports, but separately from men,” one of his advisors stated.
But Rustamzai wouldn’t verify that instantly.
New guidelines on universities allow for ladies to proceed learning so long as they’re strictly segregated from males, and cling to a costume code of an abaya gown and niqab face veil. The curriculum may also be managed.
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 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.
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 necessary” for ladies to play sport.
“In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered,” Wasiq advised Australian broadcaster SBS. “Islam does not allow women to be seen like this.”
But the Taliban are already below stress, particularly for cricket, the place worldwide laws state that nations should even have an lively women’s crew to participate in Test matches.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman Azizullah Fazli later advised SBS Radio Pashto he was nonetheless hopeful ladies will be capable to play.
“Very soon, we will give you good news on how we will proceed,” he stated.
But Rustamzai distanced himself from the longer term of women’s sport.
“The opinions of our elders (senior Taliban) are important,” he stated. “If they ask us to authorise women, we will — otherwise, we will not. We await their announcement.”