AfghanistanSpecial ReportsWomen & Human Rights

Afghan Female Athlete: Migration was a Brave Decision I Made

Sayed Mahdi Hussaini

Bayan News – Shafiqa Mohammadi, one of the female athletes in Afghanistan, says she was forced to make the decision to migrate due to the discriminatory policies of the Taliban against women and girls.

Shafiqa, born in Ghazni province, started practicing martial arts in Kabul since 2018. Despite facing numerous obstacles, she believes that to reach high peaks, one must overcome obstacles.

She has participated in more than a dozen competitions in martial arts and kickboxing in Kabul and various provinces, winning the first place in the -52 kg weight category. Her latest competition was the “Combat Games World Championship” held in Saudi Arabia on October 30, 2023.

Shafiqa says that it has been two years since she left Afghanistan and continued her sports training without a coach, facing numerous challenges in the migration process. However, she managed to achieve third place in the Combat Games World Championship.

According to her, there was no choice other than migration due to the strict restrictions and conditions in Afghanistan. Based on this, migration was chosen to continue her education and participate in international sports arenas.

She says that she will shine in the sports fields representing Afghan women and girls and will fight for a better future. For months after the Taliban’s return to power, she secretly continued her sports training until there was no possibility to continue, and eventually, the decision was made to leave Kabul.

Shafiqa says, “For a female athlete, in my opinion, migration is the bravest decision one can make because it is not easy to migrate, especially when one is an athlete and a student. To continue education and sports, one must have financial support and, therefore, they have to double their efforts and fight to achieve their goals.”

She still emphasizes that by being present in sports fields, she sends a message to the international community that Afghanistan is a place for education, sports, and powerful women, and building this country depends on greater efforts and perseverance against challenges.

This Afghan female athlete urges human rights organizations and the United Nations not to forget Afghan women and girls in these critical conditions.

It should be noted that since the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan, severe restrictions have been imposed on women and girls. The most important of these restrictions are the ban on girls’ education and the prohibition of women’s employment in offices, which are said to have had serious consequences for women and girls.

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