sAmira Asgari, a member of the International Olympic Committee for Afghanistan, called on the United States to rescue Afghan female athletes from the crisis zone as soon as possible. “Please, Afghan athletes and their coaches and assistants need your help,” Asgari wrote on Wednesday in a since-deleted tweet. We have to get them out of the hands of the Taliban, out of Afghanistan, and especially Kabul. Please do something before it’s too late.”
Asgari linked the profiles of US diplomat Ross Wilson, the US Olympic Committee, and the Paralympics, among others. According to the news portal Around the Rings, the International Olympic Committee is monitoring the current situation and is in contact with several Afghan sports federations. According to the report, the IOC could not provide more detailed information in order not to endanger the security of people on the ground.
Imminent danger to women
Since the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan, the radical Islamist Taliban movement has taken control of the country again within a few weeks after their expulsion in 2001. President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad last Sunday. Conditions are currently chaotic in Afghanistan. Thousands of residents are trying to leave the country through the airport in the capital, Kabul. Many fear retaliation from the new rulers.
International observers and human rights activists are concerned about the danger to Afghan women. A Taliban spokesman confirmed in an initial statement that the new government is striving for peace. Women’s rights and freedoms will be respected, but within the framework of strict religious Sharia legislation. Exactly how this would look is not clear. According to media reports, there has already been an increasing number of attacks on women.
Zakia Khaddadi, who was supposed to be the first Afghan semi-athlete to compete in the Tokyo Paralympics, stated in a video message that she was “stuck at her home” due to the security situation. “I’m waiting for any moment for something terrible to happen to me or my family,” the 23-year-old told CBS.
The International Olympic Committee suspended Afghanistan in 1999 and excluded it from the Sydney Olympics. The reason at that time was the suppression of women’s rights. After the Islamists were expelled, the country returned to the Olympics in Athens in 2004. Rubina Muqim Yar and judoka Fariba Razaei were the first two women to compete for Afghanistan. At the Tokyo 2020 Games, 100-meter sprinter Kamiya Al Yousifi was the only woman to start in Afghanistan.
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