Twenty years of progress will be wiped out after Islamists seized power, Meena Asadi fears
Meena Asadi represented Afghanistan at the 2010 South Asian Games and used to run a fight club in Aanvaar.
Egter, she now believes the return of the Islamist militants, who ruled the country from 1996 aan 2001, has ended any chance of further progress for female athletes.
“I feel miserable,” she said on Friday. “I lost my hope and the people of my country lost their hope, ook."
Ms Asadi left Afghanistan when she was ten and moved to Pakistan, where she began training in karate.
But after her success at the South Asian Games she returned to her homeland in 2011 and started a fight club of her own in Kabul, something unthinkable under the previous Taliban regime which was ousted after the NATO-led invasion in 2001.
But after violence and instability rose in the capital, she decided to leave for a second time and sought refuge in Indonesia, where she still lives today.
Many of those who come to the karate club she leads in Cisarua, a town south of Jakarta, are also refugees from Afghanistan.
And with the Taliban back in power, the 28-year-old said she feared all the achievements made in the past 20 years will be swept away.
“All the achievement and values are destroyed, and this would be a dark moment for the people, especially for women and girls.”
When the Islamist group last ruled Afghanistan, they brutally implemented their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, forcing women to cover their faces, barring them from working or even leaving the house with a male relative, and banning girls from going to school.
“Everything is finished for women athletes. They are the extremist party, and they don’t believe in human rights or rights of women.”
Some spokespeople for the Taliban have insisted the group has changed and has no plans to roll back women’s rights in Afghanistan.
But Ms Asadi was sceptical these promises would amount to anything and some reports have already claimed women in towns recently captured by the militants have been forced to give up their jobs.
“They will never change… they are the same Taliban," sy het gese, sadly.
This week, taekwondo athlete Zakia Khudadadi had her dreams shattered of becoming Afghanistan’s first female competitor at the Paralympic Games due to the turmoil in Kabul.
The former captain of Afghanistan’s women’s football team has urged all high profile sportswomen still in the country to erase their social media accounts and burn their kit.
Speaking from Copenhagen, Khalida Popal said for their own safety female athletes should take down their names and pictures from social media.
“Even I’m telling them to burn down or get rid of your national team uniform,” she told Reuters.
“And that is painful for me, for someone as an activist who stood up and did everything possible to achieve and earn that identity as a women’s national team player. To earn that badge on the chest, to have the right to play and represent our country, how much we were proud.”