A women’s cricket team established in 2010 was dissolved by the Afghan government this year due to continuous threats from the Taliban.
“It does not exist,” said the newly appointed chairman of Afghanistan’s cricket board, Nasimullah Danish, when asked about the team. “The situation is not very much prepared for developing women’s cricket in Afghanistan.”
“Afghanistan’s cricket board does not support cricket for women, even though I have 3,700 girl cricketers across Afghanistan,” said Barakzai, who, like many other Afghan cricketers, learned the game as a refugee in Pakistan and says her mission is to teach more women to play.
Diana Barakzai was the founder of the national women’s team who resigned this April. She added the cricket board obstructed the team because of a belief that women should not leave home unescorted.
“I hope their attitude will change,” she said.
“(The Taliban) said ‘you should not develop women’s cricket, it is not in Islam, it is not in Afghanistan culture. If you do so, we will not be responsible for your players’,” Danish said, describing a threatening phone call from the militants.
Resistance from conservative families who don’t want their daughters to play adds to the challenge. Insecurity adds to the problems for women.
“Every day, every week there are bombs, when these security problems are happening, how can the families deal with it? They don’t let their daughter come and play cricket,”.
The collapse of the squad has not ended foreign donor support for women’s cricket. In June, the U.S. Embassy announced a $450,000 grant to promote the sport through a training exchange with players from India and Pakistan.