- Title: Female cyclist says Taliban takeover dashed dreams of competing abroad
- Date: 27th September 2021
- Summary: HERAT, AFGHANISTAN (SEPTEMBER 26, 2021) (REUTERS) 18-YEAR-OLD AFGHAN CYCLIST, SHARARA SARWARI, SETTING OFF ON BIKE VARIOUS OF SARWARI CYCLING AROUND YARD (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN CYCLIST, SHARARA SARWARI, SAYING: "Since I was a child, I was very interested in cycling and in recent years I have been working on cycling, but unfortunately, since the day the Emirate (Taliban) came to power, all my dreams in terms of cycling have been reduced to zero. And I have no hope at all that one day I can compete abroad or represent Afghanistan as a cyclist." VARIOUS OF SARWARI CYCLING (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN CYCLIST, SHARARA SARWARI, SAYING: "Our demand (for the Taliban) is to allow women to study, work and play sports. Unfortunately, from the first day of the Emirate's government until now, women have not been allowed to play sports (at all)." VARIOUS OF SARWARI STANDING WITH BICYCLE SARWARI'S HAND ON BRAKE SARWARI'S FOOT ON PEDAL (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN CYCLIST, SHARARA SARWARI, SAYING: "As an Afghan girl and a woman active in sports, my call to the international community and human rights (field) is that we have the right to live freely and enjoy all the facilities in the world. Just because we are a woman, when we are removed from society, it means that we are buried alive. All we want is at least for Afghan women not to be forgotten." SARWARI CARRYING TROPHY AND AWARDS, HEADING TO SIT DOWN ON SOFA VARIOUS OF SARWARI LOOKING THROUGH AWARDS FROM CYCLING COMPETITIONS SARWARI LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN CYCLIST, SHARARA SARWARI, SAYING: "All of our goals were to one day be prominent figures in Afghanistan, to represent Afghanistan in the international community. Unfortunately all of our hopes and aspirations were taken away from us by the Taliban and buried alive." VARIOUS OF TROPHY, MEDAL AND CERTIFICATES
- Embargoed: 11th October 2021 10:47
- Keywords: Afghanistan Herat Taliban cycling team cyclist girls women women's rights
- Location: HERAT, AFGHANISTAN
- City: HERAT, AFGHANISTAN
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA001EWHUB0N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: An Afghan female cyclist in the western city of Herat said on Sunday (September 26) the Taliban takeover has dashed her hopes of one day competing internationally in the sport.
"Since the day the Emirate (Taliban) came to power, all my dreams in terms of cycling have been reduced to zero. And I have no hope at all that one day I can compete abroad or represent Afghanistan as a cyclist," said 18-year-old Sharara Sarwari.
She said she has loved cycling since she was a child and had competed on a girls' cycling team.
She even won a medal after competing in a 200-kilometre road race in Herat in 2019.
But after the Taliban took over last month, she said members seized her bike and those of her teammates.
Now, she cycles around a courtyard with her brother's bike, not daring to go out on the streets.
"Our demand (for the Taliban) is to allow women to study, work and play sports," she said.
Worries over women's rights in Afghanistan surged since the Taliban retook control in August, 20 years after they were driven from power by a U.S.-led campaign in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
The Taliban say they have changed since their 1996-2001 rule, when they also barred women from leaving home without a male relative.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the Taliban's desire for international recognition is the only global leverage to press for inclusive government and respect for rights, particularly for women, in Afghanistan.
"My call to the international community and human rights (field) is that we have the right to live freely and enjoy all the facilities in the world," said Sarwari, who said she is doing what she can to keep advocating for women's rights.
"All we want is at least for Afghan women not to be forgotten."
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