Female Volleyball Players Miss the Good Old Days

The volleyball team leader reminded that with the rise of the Taliban, all their hopes, motivations, and ambitions have been shattered.

Four years ago, Ms. Sultani, along with some other girls in Ghazni, launched the province’s first girls’ volleyball team called Arus al-Balad. They wanted to show the ability of girls in sports.

“Our effort was to institutionalize the culture of sports in society, showing everyone that women can play sports,” Ms. Sultani said. “Our effort was to change the society’s view of women, and girls should not be seen as weak and second-class.” She added that since Ghazni was not a developed province, girls’ sports met with a sharp, negative reaction from the people. On the other hand, according to her, some girls welcomed their work. This led them to launch the first girls’ volleyball team in Ghazni province.

Before the rise of the Taliban, the Arus al-Balad volleyball team participated in various competitions, continuing its training regularly. Since the Taliban took control of Ghazni in early August, however, the team could not exercise. “We cannot exercise now,” ms. Sultani clarified. “There is no gymnasium in Ghazni that allows girls to play volleyball. If I find a suitable place, I will continue my exercise. I like volleyball. Under the Taliban, girls’ sports have no place, but I can play outside of this environment.”

The volleyball team leader reminded that with the arrival of the Taliban, all their hopes, motivations, and ambitions have been crashed. Because, according to her, the Taliban have taken away the most basic right of women, which is education.

After taking control of the country, the Taliban declared that Islam and the Taliban do not allow women to play cricket or any other sport because their bodies might be exposed. “We will never back down from this position,” the Taliban said. “Islam allows women to leave home according to their needs, but exercise is not a must.”

The first volleyball team for girls in Ghazni province was launched four years ago with the efforts of Ms. Sultani, Kobra Samim, and Kamela Kiarang Saadat. “In the beginning, when we started the team, all we had was a ball, a worn-out net, and the dirt field of Al-Biruni School in Nawabad town of Ghazni, which later the school officials prevented us from training in the school field.”

Ms. Sultani has no hope for the future of sports under Taliban rule, yet she urges the Taliban-led government not to ignore women’s right to education, employment, and sports.

It has been about five months since the Taliban took control of the country. During this time, high school female students have not been able to attend school. In addition, most women do not have the right to work in government offices.

Ms. Rasa had turned to sports about four months before the Taliban took control of the country. She practiced kung fu and loved to continue training it, but with the rise of the Taliban, she stopped playing sports.

“Exercise is good for health in the first place, and then I wanted to be someone who could stand up for herself and the values ​​of women against those who harass and ridicule us,” Rasa said. “With the rise of the Taliban, I missed the lessons and goals I had in my life. Despite all the restrictions, I would like to continue my education and play sports with it.”

The young woman also called on the Taliban government not to impede women’s education, work, and sports. Rasa added that she feels bored and frustrated that she cannot exercise anymore, hoping to get rid of the situation as soon as possible.

Over the past two decades, girls have made good strides in various spheres, especially sports, at home and abroad. But with the August 15 turmoil, severe restrictions have been placed on them. Although the Taliban have emphasized that these restrictions will not be lifted, it remains to be seen how effective the pressure of the international community and women’s rights defenders will be on lifting these restrictions.

 

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