Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani orders investigation into sex abuse claims in women's football team
Ghani also described media reports in connection with the incident as 'shocking'.
"Some international media outlets have reported about alleged sexual abuses in Afghan Football Federation. The Guardian and some other international TV channels have brought this issue under the spotlight; it is shocking to all Afghans. Any kind of misconduct against athletes, male and female, is not acceptable. I ask Mr. Attorney General to conduct a thorough investigation compliant with our legal codes into the issue," Ghani said in a statement.
"Even if mere allegations cause our people to stop sending their sons and daughters to sports, we need to act immediately and comprehensively. I do not tolerate sexual abuse. It has to be clear that I stand firm to protect our Islamic and societal morals. No power on earth can abuse our children. We have to have a framework in place to mitigate such incidents in our sports federations. I respect the independence of Attorney General Office’s conduct," the president said.
"But my stance as an Afghan citizen is that we will not tolerate abuse of authority to sexually exploit people. We have full faith in integrity and transparency of Mr. Attorney General’s conduct, and request from him to share with us how he will approach this issue since legal proceedings have many technical aspects," he said.
As per The Guardian report, Fifa is examining allegations that members of the Afghanistan national women’s team were sexually and physically abused by men from the country’s football federation, including its president, Keramuudin Karim.
The source told the newspaper: “Fifa has been fully aware of the situation in Afghanistan and has been working hard to secure the safety of the girls. They have been working very discreetly with those involved – given the sensitive nature of the accusations and danger to life posed – since March to pull together evidence for a formal investigation and have brought in the UN. Such is the extent of their concern for the girls still in the country and the need to bring in an organisation that can make political and legal interventions outside of Fifa’s abilities.”
Amid allegations, the team’s principal sponsor, Hummel, has cut its ties with the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), reports said.
Senior figures associated with the Afghanistan women’s team have told the Guardian that abuse took place inside the country, including at the federation’s headquarters, and at a training camp in Jordan last February.
Khalida Popal, a former head of the women’s football department at the AFF, who was forced to flee the country in 2016 and seek asylum in Denmark, has spoken to the Guardian, together with the players Shabnam Mobarez and Mina Ahmadi and the head coach, Kelly Lindsey, about the ordeal of players within the country and their frustrations with a system that, they feel, has failed to protect them.
The AFF has rejected all allegations.
The AFF said in a statement that it “vigorously rejects the false accusations made with regard to the AFF’s women’s national team”, reported The Guardian.
Image: Afghanistan President website