Members of the Taliban militia in Afghanistan have issued a plea to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to be included in the upcoming Sydney Olympics, claiming they will serve as “messengers of peace.” The Taliban, which was suspended from the IOC in 1998, has been anything but peaceful since it took over Afghanistan by force in 1996. The extremist militia has instituted a strict system of gender apartheid, banning all women and girls from school and work and requiring them to cloak themselves in a full-body covering, the burqa. This system of gender apartheid has been severely detrimental to the physical and psychological health of Afghan women.
“Due to the Taliban’s draconian treatment of Afghan women and girls, their plea for inclusion in the Sydney games must be denied until the full restoration of women’s human rights in the country is achieved,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Media Resources: BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk) 15 August 2000