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Afghan Women To Be Banned From Playing Sport

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Afghan Women To Be Banned From Playing Sport

By

Peter Beaumont

Afghan women, including the country’s women’s cricket team, will be banned from playing sport under the new Taliban government, according to an official in the hardline Islamist group.

In an interview with the Australian broadcaster SBS, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said women’s sport was considered neither appropriate nor necessary.

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” Wasiq said. “In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this.

“It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed.”

A new Taliban interim government drawn exclusively from loyalist ranks formally began work on Wednesday, with established hardliners in all key posts and no women – despite previous promises to form an inclusive administration.

The US state department expressed concern that the new cabinet included only Taliban, no women, and personalities with troubling track records, but said the new administration would be judged by its actions.

The carefully worded statement noted the cabinet was interim, but said the Taliban would be held to their promise to give safe passage to foreign nationals and Afghans, with proper travel documents, and ensure Afghan soil would not be used as a base to harm another state.

“The world is watching closely,” the statement said.

The EU also condemned the new government for its lack of inclusion, saying it failed to honour vows from the new rulers to include different groups.

“Upon initial analysis of the names announced, it does not look like the inclusive and representative formation in terms of the rich ethnic and religious diversity of Afghanistan we hoped to see and that the Taliban were promising over the past weeks,” an EU spokesperson said.

READ ALSO: Bandits May Overrun Nigeria Like Taliban In Afghanistan – Gumi

Germany, China and Japan also offered a lukewarm reception on Wednesday to the Taliban’s provisional government in Afghanistan, after the Islamist militants’ lightning seizure of Kabul last month.

The German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, added that the composition encouraged little optimism that the Taliban had changed. “The announcement of a transitional government without the participation of other groups and yesterday’s violence against demonstrators and journalists in Kabul are not signals that give cause for optimism,” he said.

The issue of women’s rights is likely to dominate how the regime is judged by the international community, with the stance on women’s sport and the all-male government being ominous warning signs.

While a policy statement released to accompany the announcement of the new cabinet sought to allay fears of Afghanistan’s neighbours and the rest of the world, women – unlike minorities – were not mentioned once in its three pages.

While officials at the Afghanistan cricket board say they have not been informed officially of the fate of women’s cricket, the board’s programme for girls has already been suspended.

Sportswomen, including cricketers, have been in hiding in Afghanistan since the Taliban swept to power amid a precipitate US-led withdrawal of foreign forces last month, with some women reporting threats of violence from Taliban fighters if they are caught playing.

The ban on playing sport comes amid mounting evidence that the Taliban’s attitude towards women has barely moderated since they were last in power, despite claims to the contrary.

As the Taliban have transitioned from militant force to governing power, they are facing opposition to their rule, with scattered protests – many with women at the forefront – breaking out in cities across the country.

A small rally in the capital, Kabul, on Wednesday was quickly dispersed by armed Taliban security, while Afghan media reported that a protest in the north-eastern city of Faizabad was also broken up. Hundreds protested on Tuesday, both in the capital and in the city of Herat, where two people were shot dead.

READ ALSO: Taliban Accused Of Murdering Pregnant Afghan Policewoman In Front Of Her Family

Notorious for their brutal and oppressive rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban had promised a more inclusive government this time. However, all the top positions were handed to key leaders from the movement and the Haqqani network – the most violent faction of the Taliban, known for devastating attacks.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund – a senior minister during the Taliban’s reign in the 1990s – was appointed interim prime minister, the group’s chief spokesperson said at a press conference in Kabul.

‘They came for my daughter’: Afghan single mothers face losing children under Taliban Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of the Taliban founder and late supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, was named defence minister, while the position of interior minister was given to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network.

The Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar, who oversaw the signing of the US withdrawal agreement in 2020, was appointed deputy prime minister.

“We will try to take people from other parts of the country,” the spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, said, adding that it was an interim government.

Hibatullah Akhundzada, the secretive supreme leader of the Taliban, released a statement saying the new government would “work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and sharia law”.

The Taliban had made repeated pledges in recent days to rule with greater moderation than they had in their last stint in power.

“The new Taliban is virtually the same as the old Taliban,” tweeted Bill Roggio, the managing editor of the US-based Long War Journal.

“It’s not at all inclusive, and that’s no surprise whatsoever,” said Michael Kugelman, a south Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The Guardian of London

 

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Anti-apartheid Icon Desmond Tutu Is Not Dead

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Anti-apartheid Icon Desmond Tutu Dies At 90

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu is not  dead.

This is contrary to earlier reports that the  cleric passed away at the age of 90 today, October 20, 2021.

Tutu’s death  was reportedly earlier announced by the Bishop of Johannesburg, Stephen Moreo, via his official Twitter handle on Wednesday.

Moreo’s account stated, “ATTENTION. The Anglican Diocese of Johannesburg receives now the sad news of the death of our dearest Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

READ ALSO: Fully Vaccinated Colin Powell Dies Of COVID-19 Complications

“The Most Reverend Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu dies at 90. Official note to be released soon.”

Tutu was renowned for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. Between 1985 and 1986 he was the Bishop of Johannesburg from and then the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996. He was the first black African to hold both positions.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

 

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70-year-old Woman Gets First Child After IVF Treatment

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70-year-old Woman Gets First Child After IVF Treatment

An Indian woman has had her first child at the age of 70 after agreeing with her husband to undergo IVF treatment for the last time, making her one of the oldest first-time mothers in the world, the Daily Mail of UK reported.

Jivunben Rabari and her husband Maldhari, 75, proudly showed off their son – whose name they have not revealed – to reporters as they said he had been conceived through IVF.

Rabari told reporters she was 70, which would make her one of the oldest first mothers in the world. However, another Indian woman, Erramatti Mangayamma, is believed to be the oldest after having twin girls in September 2019 at the age of 74.

Rabari and Maldhari, from a small village called Mora in Gujurat, India, have been married for 45 years and have been trying unsuccessfully for a baby for decades.

They were able to have a child through IVF, which can be effective after menopause.

READ ALSO: Fully Vaccinated Colin Powell Dies Of COVID-19 Complications

The couple’s doctor Naresh Bhanushali said it was “one of the rarest cases I have ever seen.”

Dr Bhanushali said: “When they first came to us, we told them that they couldn’t have a child at such an old age, but they insisted. They said that many of their family members did it as well. This is one of the rarest cases I have ever seen.”

The chances of a woman in her 70s getting pregnant naturally are virtually zero due to most women going through the menopause between their late 40s and early 50s.

But the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) claims that any woman of any age can get pregnant with medical help provided that she has a ‘normal uterus’, even if she no longer has ovaries.

Medics use an egg donated by a much younger woman and it is fertilised outside of the body using a man’s sperm.

Eventually, the embryo is placed inside the woman’s womb in the hopes that she’ll become pregnant.

There have been several instances of women into their 60s and 70s having children through IVF in India.

Mangayamma is believed to be the oldest woman in the world to give birth after welcoming twins through IVF aged 74.

Mangayamma gave birth to twin girls in a ‘medical miracle’ on September 5, 2019, following IVF treatments involving a donor’s egg and her husband’s sperm.

The pensioner, of Andhra Pradesh state, revealed she was inspired to try for a baby after her 55-year-old neighbour conceived.

 

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Fully Vaccinated Colin Powell Dies Of COVID-19 Complications

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Colin Powell, Military Leader, First Black US Secretary Of State, Dies
General Colin L. Powell,

By
Devan Cole

Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape American foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, has died from complications from Covid-19, his family said on Facebook. He was 84.

“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19,” the Powell family wrote on Facebook.

READ ALSO: Bill Clinton Hospitalised

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” they said, noting he was fully vaccinated.

Powell was a distinguished and trailblazing professional soldier whose career took him from combat duty in Vietnam to becoming the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush. His national popularity soared in the aftermath of the US-led coalition victory during the Gulf War, and for a time in the mid-90s, he was considered a leading contender to become the first Black President of the United States. But his reputation would be forever stained when, as George W. Bush’s first secretary of state, he pushed faulty intelligence before the United Nations to advocate for the Iraq War, which he would later call a “blot” on his record.

Though he never mounted a White House bid, when Powell was sworn in as Bush’s secretary of state in 2001, he became the highest-ranking Black public official to date in the country, standing fourth in the presidential line of succession.

CNN

 

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