‘Unity’ cricket match with Taliban and Afghan flags side by side

Kabul: Crowds thronged to watch some of Afghanistan’s top cricketers play in a trial match on Friday. Taliban and Afghan flags were also accompanied by sports officials who described the show as a show of national unity.
It was the primary match since the Taliban came to power on Assumption, and organizers of sports and cultural events have wondered what’s now acceptable under the rule of radical Islamists.
The Peace Defenders and Peace Heroes include several members of the Afghan national team, currently preparing for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17.
Hamza, a Taliban commander at the stadium in Kabul, told AFP, “It’s great to watch cricket here.
He was in charge of a group of Taliban fighters in the crowd – some watching the game more carefully than the spectators.
“I am a player myself,” Hamza said. “An all-rounder.”
The withdrawal of the Taliban has caused widespread panic in Afghanistan and the international community, restoring memories of their first term in power from 1996 to 2001, when they enacted a harsher version of Islamic law.
That regime banned most sorts of entertainment, where many sports and stadiums were doubled as public execution sites.
The games that the Taliban approved were strictly regulated and were only for men to play or watch.
Sure, there were no women in the crowd of 4,000 on Friday, but there was so much excitement as the teams played Twenty20, the smallest version of the game ending in Friday prayer, the most important of the week.
Cricket wasn’t known in Afghanistan until the first 2000s, and its explosive growth in popularity was linked to the conflict, and in Pakistan, this sport was sown by Afghan refugees in their homeland.
Achieving national Test status in 2017, the national team enjoyed meteor showers on the international stage and is now ranked in the top ten in the world in ODI and T20 formats.
Over the past 20 years, it has emerged as a powerful symbol of national unity in a country torn apart by civil war and ethnic conflict.
On Friday, fans hoisted the Afghan and Taliban flags together, while “Baba Cricket” – a senior super fan who wore national colors from head to toe – took a prominent position on the stands.
Although Taliban guards entered the stadium near Chaman Uzuri in Kabul and all were abducted by Taliban guards, most of the Taliban fighters were Pashtuns.
Although many Kabulis say security has improved in the weeks leading up to the fall of the government, the Taliban have been on high alert since an Islamic State suicide attack on an airport last week killed more than 100 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers. Hassle-free wrap. Lifting.
Hamid Shinwari, chief executive of the Afghan Cricket Board, told AFP with a smile that the display of flags within the match – which the Peace Defenders won by 2 runs – was a positive sign for the country.
“It’s unity,” he said, adding that talks with Taliban officials indicated a bright future for the game.
Although they will not be dragged into the fate of the women’s party, various media reports have said that many members have already fled the country or hid in fear for their future under the new regime.
“We have a group on WhatsApp and every night we talk about our problems and share plans about what to do,” a team member told the BBC this week.
“We are all hopeless.”

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