Taliban government does not recognize female athletes in Afghan delegation at Paris 2024

KABUL.- The Afghan Taliban government told AFP on Monday that it does not “recognize” the participation of three female athletes, invited to the Sets Paris (July 26 to August 11) by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“Only three athletes represent Afghanistan,” the spokesman said. Taliban of the Sports Minister, Atal Mashwani, referring to three male athletes.

“At the moment, women’s sport is banned in Afghanistan. If women’s sport is not practised, how can they be part of the national team?” the spokesperson added.

In mid-June, the IOC announced the presence in Paris of an Afghan team made up of three men (in athletics, swimming and judo) and three women (in athletics and cycling) without revealing their identities.

All of them, except the judoka, live abroad, said Dad Mohammad Payenda Akhtari, director general of the Afghan Olympic Committee.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said last month that the Afghan Olympic Committee, whose top officials are in exile, is “their sole interlocutor for the preparation and participation of the Afghan team.”

Afghan athletes competing in Paris will do so in the black-green-red colours of the former flag of the regime overthrown by the Taliban in the summer of 2021, following the withdrawal of US troops deployed in the Asian country.

Since the Taliban returned to power three years ago, they have tightened living conditions for Afghan women, banning them from sports and education, prompting the United Nations to denounce a “gender apartheid.”

Much uncertainty:

Despite avoiding the dangerous scenario of cohabitation with the far right, France remains mired in political uncertainty just over two weeks before the start of the Olympic Games (July 26 to August 11).

The president of the Paris 2024 organising committee, Tony Estanguet, must have been very happy since last night (Sunday). Clearly, it would not have been the same to have had to manage the Games with (far-right leader) Jordan Bardella at his side,” estimates David Roizen, an Olympic specialist at the Jean-Jaurès Foundation.