Australia cancel Afghanistan tour due to Taliban restrictions on women’s rights

Australia have cancelled their one-day series with Afghanistan following concerns over “further restrictions” on women’s rights in the Taliban-ruled country.

Australia were set to play three matches against Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates in March.

But a statement from the country’s governing body read: “Following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Government, Cricket Australia has decided that it is unable to proceed at this time with the upcoming ICC Super League three-match Men’s ODI series between Australia and Afghanistan scheduled for the UAE in March 2023.

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“This decision follows the recent announcement by the Taliban of further restrictions on women’s and girls’ education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms.

“CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country.

“We thank the Australian Government for its support on this matter.”

Australia against England at Old Trafford
Australia were due to play three ODIs against Afghanistan in March (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

Women and girls in Afghanistan are not allowed to take part in sport, while girls have also been barred from attending middle and high school. Last month, the Taliban also ordered all women to be thrown out of universities.

Afghanistan are the only full member nation of the ICC without a women’s team.

Australia, who have automatically qualified for the World Cup in India in October, will forfeit the series, with 30 competition points awarded to Afghanistan.