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Afghanistan women's cricket in danger after Taliban's reported opposition

Doubts now over the status of the men's Test against Australia in November with ICC also monitoring the situation

The Afghanistan women players take a break during a practice game, Kabul, October 31, 2020

The Afghanistan players will now train at exclusive female-only centres  •  Afghanistan Cricket Board

Question marks have risen over the future of Afghanistan in international cricket following the Taliban's reported opposition to women playing the sport.
The fallout has already begun with the Australian sports minister Richard Colbeck telling ABC that Afghan athletes would "remain welcome in Australia, but not under the flag of the Taliban". The men are scheduled to play their first-ever Test in the country later this year but in light of these events that is now under some doubt.
The ICC said it was monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and was concerned about the media reports that women will no longer be allowed to play cricket. A spokesperson said: "This and the impact it will have on the continued development of the game will be discussed by the ICC Board at its next meeting."
On Wednesday, the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, told SBS News that it wasn't "necessary" for women to play cricket because "they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this."
The higher-ups in the Afghanistan Cricket Board appear to have been expecting this stance by their government.
Earlier this week, the ACB chief executive Hamid Shinwari admitted to ESPNcricinfo that the women's game was "in peril." while the acting chairman, Azizullah Fazli, told BBC Pashto that it would be allowed to continue so long as the players adhered to Islamic rules.
Fazli also said that they will now train at exclusive female-only centres and that Dina Barakzai would serve as head coach.
As for the men's team, they are due to take part in the T20 World Cup in the UAE next month but there has been concern about the Test match they are scheduled to play against Australia in November.
"It's an extremely challenging and complex situation," the CA chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio. "There's so many layers to it and it really does transcend cricket
"The situation as it stands today, is that Afghanistan are a full member of the ICC, they're due to play in the T20 World Cup, but we're working very closely and having all the right discussions with the ICC, with the Australian government and ultimately we'll take our lead from them.
"We don't yet have answers but we're in dialogue and taking advice from all the relevant organisations.
"Absolutely we want to see cricket for women and girls growing and strong all around the world. The current situation is very new, international cricket is working to understand the implications, but it is something we will continue to watch very closely."
"I think it's something that is being keenly followed and observed. I think here in Australia, we've been a real driving force in growing cricket for women and girls."
Afghanistan is the only Full Member to have received that status without having an operational women's team in place. Last year the Afghanistan Cricket Board had announced their first contracts for women as they looked to build a team.