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Female Afghan Volleyball Player Beheaded by the Taliban

Published: October 28, 2021
The Taliban is reportedly targeting female sports players.
The Taliban is reportedly targeting female sports players. (Image: 12019 via Pixabay)

Ever since the Taliban seized control of Kabul, they have claimed that the citizens of Afghanistan would see a new era under their rule. Spokesmen from the Taliban have promised to respect human rights. However, recent incidents have begun to show that the regime has not changed its ways.

The Taliban is said to have beheaded a female volleyball player named Mahjabin Hakimi. Gruesome photos of her severed head and bloodied neck were posted on social media, according to her coach. Hakimi was one of the star players for the Kabul Municipality Volleyball Club.

Speaking to the Independent Persian, the coach revealed that the athlete had been murdered earlier in October. The coach used the pseudonym, Suraya Afzali, due to safety reasons.

Apart from Hakimi’s family, nobody else knew “the exact time and manner of the incident.” The family was intimidated into not disclosing details to anyone.

Some other media reports suggested that Hakimi may have died far earlier, with a death certificate indicating she was killed on Aug.13. However, the Afghanistan-based Payk Investigative Journalism Centre cited unnamed sources to confirm on its official Twitter account that Hakimi was beheaded by the Taliban in Kabul.

According to Afzali, female sports players in the country are in severe danger. The Taliban has intensified its hunt for women athletes and has even invaded their homes in various cities. Members of the women’s volleyball team, who have competed in foreign and domestic events and appeared in media programs, are facing a constant threat.

“All the players of the volleyball team and the rest of the women athletes are in a bad situation and in despair and fear… Everyone has been forced to flee and live in unknown places,” the coach said. So far, only two members of the volleyball team have managed to flee the country.

Ever since the Taliban took over, multiple attempts have been made to force women athletes out of the country. Zahra Fayazi, a former volleyball player who succeeded in escaping to the UK, told BBC last month that at least one of the squad had been killed.  

“We don’t want this to repeat for our other players. Our players who were living in the provinces had to leave and live in other places. They even burned their sports equipment to save themselves and their families. They didn’t want them to keep anything related to sport. They are scared.”

“Many of our players who are from provinces were threatened many times by their relatives who are Taliban and Taliban followers.The Taliban asked our players’ families to not allow their girls to do sport, otherwise they will be faced with unexpected violence,” Fayazi said.

Volleyball was historically one of Afghanistan’s most popular sports. The women’s volleyball team was founded in 1978 and served as a beacon of hope for young women in the country. However, female participation in Afghanistan’s social and political spheres has come to a halt, and girls are even banned from attending secondary school.