International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned Afghanistan to ensure safe access to sports for women and girls or risk expulsion from the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Women’s sports have largely disappeared from the country ever since the Taliban returned to power after the Western-backed government was overthrown in August 2021.
During a meeting in Lausanne, where IOC received a full report on the Olympic and sports movement in Afghanistan, IOC’s executive board expressed “serious concern” and “strongly condemned” restrictions on women pursuing sports.
“The specific modalities for the participation of the Afghan NOC delegation and team in the Olympic Games Paris 2024…will depend on the progress made in relation to the fundamental issue of safe access to sport for women and young girls in the country,” it said.
Under additional conditions, the Afghanistan team must include female athletes living in the country as well as abroad and women officials should be represented in governing bodies and administration.
IOC, however, has not set a deadline for Afghanistan to meet all its conditions.
The report comes only a day after Human Rights Watch called for the IOC to suspend Afghanistan until women and girls were allowed to partake in sports in the country.
“The IOC should not take a day longer to remove the Taliban from the Olympic movement, strip their status, and halt the funding the IOC provides,” said Minky Worden, HRW’s director of global initiatives.
Afghanistan has participated in 14 of the 19 summer Olympics since making its debut in 1936 with two Bronze medals to its name. If things remain the same, their streak of participating in 5 consecutive games may be broken in two years’ time.