Australia cancels T20 series against Afghanistan over women’s rights

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Australia has called off a T20 series against Afghanistan citing a deteriorating human rights situation for women and girls in the Taliban-ruled country, Cricket Australia (CA) said today.

Australia withdrew from a one-day series scheduled for March last year in the United Arab Emirates after the Taliban imposed strict restrictions on Afghan women, including banning them from attending universities.

The teams were scheduled to play three T20 matches in the UAE in August this year but CA said that after consultations with the Australian government it had decided to call off the series.

“The government’s advice is that conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan are getting worse,” the cricket board said in a statement.

“For this reason, we have maintained our previous position and will postpone the bilateral series against Afghanistan.”

The Afghanistan Cricket Board was not immediately available to comment.

CA added that it would engage with its Afghan counterpart as well as the International Cricket Council to “determine what actions could be taken to support the resumption of bilateral matches in the future”.

Afghanistan’s women’s team was disbanded and several members fled the country after the country’s Taliban takeover in 2021.

Australia also cancelled a one-off Test against Afghanistan in Hobart the same year.