Afghanistan’s new sports chief said Tuesday that the Taliban will allow 400 sports, but declined to confirm if women can play a single one. “Please don’t ask more questions about women,” Bashir Ahmad Rustamzai told AFP, from an armchair where Afghanistan’s Olympic Committee president had sat until he fled the country last month. Rustamzai, a heavily-built former kung fu and wrestling champion with a bushy black and white beard, was appointed by the hardline Islamist group to be Afghanistan’s director general for sports and physical education.
Rustamzai repeatedly skipped questions if women will be allowed to take part in sports. During the extremists’ brutal and oppressive regime from 1996 to 2001, women were completely banned from playing any sport while men’s sport was tightly controlled. Women were also largely banned from education and work. Sports stadiums were regularly used for public executions.
“We will not ban any sport, unless it does not comply with sharia law… there are 400 type of sports allowed,” Rustamzai said.