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Australia men’s cricket team cancels Afghanistan matches over Taliban restrictions on women and girls’ freedoms

The Taliban’s restrictions on women’s and girls’ freedoms have led to the withdrawal of the Australian men’s cricket team from matches against Afghanistan.

Both sides were scheduled to play three one-day international (ODI), matches in March in Dubai.

Cricket Australia released a statement saying it was “committed” to growing the game for women around the world, including Afghanistan. It also stated that it would continue to engage with Afghanistan Cricket Board to ensure better conditions for girls and women in Afghanistan.

Image Afghan women protest the Taliban’s closing of their universities for women in Kabul

It added, “We thank Australia for their support in this matter.”


This comes just a few days after the Taliban announced that it would ban female students from universities within Afghanistan immediately.

A spokesperson for the higher education ministry confirmed that a letter was sent to Afghan universities requesting that female students be denied entry until further notice, in accordance to a cabinet decision.

This announcement was widely condemned by countries around the globe, and raised concerns within the international community that the de facto administration has not been officially recognized.

This was after a U-turn by the Taliban last march on the opening all middle and high school to girls.

Roza Otunbayeva was previously the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan. She stated that the Taliban administration had been “undermining” its relationship with the international community through the closing of schools.

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Afghan women appeal to the world for help

She spoke at a UN Security Council session about Afghanistan and said that “as long as girls are excluded from school, and the de facto authorities continue not to address other concerns of the international community,” we will remain in an impasse.

Robert Wood, the US Deputy UN Ambassador to Afghanistan, stated that the Taliban cannot be considered a legitimate member the international community unless they respect all Afghans’ rights, particularly the fundamental freedoms of women and girls.

Special correspondent Alex Crawford, a three part Sky News documentary that aired at the beginning December, examined the struggle for women’s rights under one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.

Women at War in Afghanistan has been in contact with the informal networks formed by women’s resistance groups, who are struggling to protect their basic human rights and freedoms.


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