Australia pulls out of Afghanistan cricket series over Taliban’s restrictions on women



Cricket Australia (CA) said in a statement on Thursday that Australia’s men’s cricket team has pulled out of the upcoming series against Afghanistan in protest against the ruling Taliban’s restrictions on the education and employment of women and girls.

The teams were scheduled to play three one-day internationals (ODIs) in the United Arab Emirates in March, but CA decided to cancel the series after “extensive consultation” with “multiple stakeholders, including the Australian government,” the statement said. done

“CA is committed to support [and] is promoting the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in hopes of better conditions for women and girls in the country.

In December, the Taliban announced the suspension of university education for all female students. The move follows a decision in March to prevent girls from returning to secondary schools, following a months-long shutdown since the radical Islamist group took control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

Later that month, the Taliban ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop their female employees from coming to work, warning that non-compliance could result in their licenses being revoked. will be rejected.

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Answered the decision of the CA on Thursday, describing it as “pathetic” and “an attempt to enter the realm of politics and politicize the game”.

“By prioritizing political interests over fair play and sporting principles, Cricket Australia is undermining the integrity of the game and harming the relationship between the two countries,” the statement said.

“The decision to withdraw from the upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan is wrong and sudden and will have a negative impact on the development and growth of cricket in Afghanistan.[ing] The Afghan nation’s love and passion for the game.”

The ACB said it is considering what action to take on the matter, including the possibility of writing to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Australia’s domestic T20 competition, the Big Bash League (BBL). Includes “Rethinking Participation of Afghan Players”.

The ACB’s statement comes after the comments of prominent Afghan player Rashid Khan.

Khan, who won this year’s BBL. Had played for the Adelaide Strikers, were with A statement on Twitter With the words: “Keep politics out of it.”

Khan wrote, “I am really disappointed to hear that Australia has dropped us from the series to play in March.

“I am very proud to represent my country and we have made great progress on the world stage. This decision of the CA has put us back on that journey.

If playing against Afghanistan is so uncomfortable for Australia, I don’t want to bother anyone with my presence in the BBL. So I will strongly consider my future in that competition.”

CA had earlier pulled out of a proposed Test match against Afghanistan in November 2021 in Tasmania due to the Taliban’s ban on women participating in the Games.

It is very important for Cricket Australia to enhance the development of women’s cricket at the global level. Our vision for cricket is that it is a game for all, and we clearly support the game for women at all levels,” CA said at the time.

Australia’s Sports Minister Annika Wells said on Thursday that Canberra Cricket supports Australia’s move.

“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 repression of women and girls’ rights,” he tweeted.

Although the Taliban has repeatedly claimed that it will protect the rights of girls and women, the group has done the opposite, taking away the hard-won freedoms that women have fought tirelessly for over the past two decades.

The United Nations and at least half a dozen major foreign aid groups have said they are temporarily suspending their operations in Afghanistan following a ban on female NGO workers.

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