Australia pulls out of Afghanistan cricket series

Australia has pulled out of its upcoming men’s one-day international cricket series against Afghanistan, citing further restrictions on women’s rights imposed in the country by the ruling Taliban government.


Australia was set to meet Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates for three matches in March. But following consultation with the Australian government and other groups, Cricket Australia said Thursday it would scrap the series.


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When Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, the extremist group banned women from playing sports on the grounds that doing so would contravene Islamic laws requiring their hair and skin to be covered.


In a statement on Thursday, Cricket Australia said the decision to withdraw from the men’s one-day international series followed recent Taliban restrictions placed on women’s and girls’ education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms.


“CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country,” CA said.


The cancellation of the series comes after Australia cited similar reasons for scrapping a one-off test match against Afghanistan that had been set to be played in Hobart, Australia in November 2021.


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In December, the Taliban banned women from completing higher education, having prohibited attendance at gyms and parks a month earlier.


According to the United Nations, women are also banned from attending school beyond the sixth grade and working most jobs outside of their homes.


In November 2021, the ICC formed a working group aiming to support and review women’s and men’s cricket in Afghanistan but more than a year later, the country remains the only full member of the ICC without a fully operational women’s team.


Source: United News of Bangladesh