Cricket Australia cancels match against Afghanistan in protest against the Taliban

The Australian cricket team has withdrawn from playing against Afghanistan for a one-day international in protest against the Taliban latest round of restrictions on women’s rights.

To protest the Taliban’s latest restrictions on women, Cricket Australia (CA) has withdrawn its men’s team from the ODI’s three-match series scheduled for March in the United Arabic Emirate, adding that it will continue to engage with Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women in the country.

“The Australian men’s team will not play against Afghanistan in a scheduled three-match ODI series in the UAE in March, after recent announcements from the Taliban restricting the freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan,” the CA said in a statement today.

Reacting to the Australians decision, the CEO of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Geoff Allardice, said that Afghanistan’s continuing lack of interest for women’s cricket has become a “concern” to the ICC. “It’s something our board will consider at its next meeting in March,” he was quoted as saying by the ESPN.

“Obviously, the recent developments in Afghanistan are concerning,” Allardice said during a virtual press conference. “Our board has been monitoring progress since the change of regime. It is a concern that progress is not being made in Afghanistan and it’s something our board will consider at its next meeting in March. As far as we are aware, there isn’t activity at the moment.”

Since its return to power in August 2021, the Taliban has imposed severe restrictions on women and girls. In its recently released World Report 2023, Human Rights Watch has said that the Taliban has “continued to impose numerous rules and policies violating a wide range of fundamental rights of women and girls,” since its recapturing of Afghanistan.