Thursday, July 25, 2024

Afghan Women’s team in exile asks ICC for refugee team status

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The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021 after two decades, as the US was withdrawing its troops from the country. Unsurprisingly, they quickly began restricting the rights and freedoms of women, barring all females from secondary school and beyond, and ending all female participation in sports.

The Afghanistan Women’s cricket team, which had just received national contracts earlier in 2021, fled to Australia before they could play their first game. They have been in exile and in limbo in Australia for the past few years.

Australia, notably, is also the only country to refuse to hold bilateral series between Men’s teams in protest over Afghanistan’s policies.

Now, on the heels of the Afghan Men’s success at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup that just ended, famously reaching the semifinals, the Afghan women have written to the ICC asking for a women’s refugee team.

Here is a screenshot of that letter:

And here is the full text of the body:

Open letter from former Afghanistan women’s cricketers to ICC
To Mr Greg Barclay, ICC Chair
29th June 2024

We, the formerly contracted players of the Afghanistan Women’s team, are proud and excited by the achievements of Afghanistan at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and wish to congratulate Rashid Khan and his team on reaching the semi-finals.

A profound sadness remains that we, as women, cannot represent our country like the male cricketers.

As former Afghan Cricketers now living abroad, we are unable to represent the Afghanistan women’s national team. We are asking the ICC to assist us in setting up a refugee team in Australia.

It could be administered by the East Asian Cricket office based at Cricket Australia. Through this team we aim to represent all Afghan women who dream of playing cricket but are unable to in Afghanistan.

Creating a team of Afghan refugees can give us a chance to play, coach and administer a cricket team without borders. The creation of this team will allow all Afghan women who want to represent their country to come together under one banner.

Our goals in having a refugee team are to develop and showcase our talent, give hope to the women remaining in Afghanistan, and to draw attention to the challenges women of Afghanistan face.

Like the Afghanistan men’s team are afforded, we aim to compete at the highest levels. We want to recruit and train girls and women who love cricket, to show the world the talent of Afghan women and to demonstrate the great victories they can achieve if given a chance through the leadership and financial support of the ICC.

On behalf of the members of the former Afghanistan women’s cricket team now based in Australia.

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