They are safe and sound. The two para-athletes of the Afghanistan team and stranded in the country have been evacuated from the country, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced on Wednesday, August 25. However, they will not participate in the Paralympic Games which started Tuesday in Tokyo.
Khadija Amin was a featured journalist on Afghan television. Then the Taliban arrived
“Efforts have been made to evacuate them from Afghanistan, they are now in a safe place”, CIP spokesperson Craig Spence said at a press conference in Tokyo. “I’m not going to tell you where they are because it’s not about sport, but about human lives, and it’s about protecting people”, he explained.
According to Australian media ABC, they are part of a group of around 50 Afghan athletes who may have been exfiltrated by Australia, but this has not been officially confirmed by the country’s authorities.
“They had a traumatic experience”
Craig Spence also hinted that they will not be able to compete in the Games: “Obviously they have had a traumatic experience, they are receiving psychological assistance”. For the symbol, the Afghan flag was still paraded at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games on Tuesday, despite the absence of a delegation.
Al-Qaida shadow hangs over Taliban Afghanistan
Engaged in para-taekwondo, Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli were initially to represent Afghanistan together at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
But with the flash fall of the Afghan state under the onslaught of the Taliban, who captured Kabul on August 15, the two had found themselves among the many Afghans desperately seeking to flee the country from the airport in the capital, the only one site still provisionally controlled by the US military.
The Afghan flag at the Games, but not the athletes
Zakia Khudadadi, 23, was reportedly the first woman to represent Afghanistan at a Paralympic Games. In a video posted on August 18, she recounted her distress and called for help:
“I ask all of you, as an Afghan woman and representative of Afghan women, to help me […] My intention is to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, please reach out to me and help me […] I urge all of you, women around the world, women’s protection institutions, all government organizations, not to allow the Paralympic movement rights to be taken away so easily from an Afghan citizen. “
Indeed, the Taliban are opposed in principle to women going to school, working or playing sports.
“For the Taliban, better a dead woman than a woman who speaks of love”
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Since the Taliban returned to power in mid-August, the situation in Afghanistan has remained chaotic. US President Joe Biden on Tuesday confirmed the August 31 deadline to complete the “Mission” of the American army there, on condition that the new Afghan regime does not obstruct the evacuation of those who still want to flee Kabul.