Taliban Bans Afghan Female Athletes from Olympics – Here’s What Happened Next!

Afghanistan’s Taliban government has ignited international outcry following its controversial decision to exclude three female athletes from the national team bound for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games. This move starkly illustrates the ongoing struggle over women’s rights in Afghanistan since the Taliban regained control in 2021, amidst concerns about the rollback of freedoms achieved in previous years.

Atal Mashwani, spokesperson for the Taliban’s sports directorate, firmly stated that only male athletes from Afghanistan would be officially recognized by the government. He expressed disappointment over the inclusion of female athletes, asserting that women’s sports activities are presently halted under Taliban rule.

In response, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) clarified that it had not engaged in discussions with Taliban officials regarding the composition of the Afghan team. The IOC reaffirmed that Afghanistan’s national Olympic committee, operating from outside the country, retains full authority over managing the team’s preparations and participation in international events.

The Afghan Olympic contingent, consisting of a total of six athletes, includes three men and three women. Notably, all female athletes and two male counterparts reside outside Afghanistan due to the challenging conditions within the country. They are poised to compete in disciplines such as judo, athletics, and cycling, proudly representing Afghanistan under the banner of the previous Western-backed government.

Under Taliban governance, stringent restrictions have been imposed on women’s involvement in sports, education, and public life, triggering widespread international criticism and invoking comparisons to “gender apartheid” by the United Nations. This situation underscores persistent global concerns about human rights and gender equality in Afghanistan, amidst efforts to safeguard the progress made by Afghan women in recent years.

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