Australia pull out of Afghanistan cricket series over Taliban crackdown on women

Australia’s men’s team was due to face their Afghan counterparts in three matches, which are part of the ICC Super League, in March after a tour of India

SYDNEY: Australia pulled out of an upcoming one-day series against Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, citing Taliban moves to further curtail women’s rights.

The men’s team was due to face their Afghanistan counterparts in three matches, which are part of the ICC Super League, in March after a tour of India.

However, Cricket Australia said that following consultation with stakeholders, including the Australian government, it would no longer take place.

“This decision follows the Taliban’s recent announcement of further restrictions on education and employment opportunities for women and girls and their ability to access parks and gyms,” it said in a statement.

“CA is committed to supporting the development of the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan.

“(We) will continue to work with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country,” he added while thanking Canberra for its support.

Australia will forfeit 30 match points for the series, which go towards World Cup qualification. But they have already secured automatic qualification for the 50-over tournament in India in October.

The Taliban regained control of the Asian nation in mid-2021 and immediately placed restrictions on women’s participation in sports.

The Taliban have also banned teenage girls from secondary education and last month banned women from attending universities, sparking global outrage.

More recently, the women were told they could no longer work in the Afghan aid sector.

Women have also been pushed out of many government positions, not allowed to travel without a male relative and ordered to cover up outside the home, ideally with a burqa.



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