Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover of country
For the past three decades, Afghanistan has been ruled by the powerful Taliban. In this year’s national finals, Nadia Nadim reports from the city of Kandahar as the Taliban’s influence grows
Photograph: Nadia Nadim
Nadia Nadim reports from Kabul this week. She has been working in Afghanistan for the past three decades and has seen the country transform from a once-mildly democratic society to one ruled by one of the world’s biggest terrorist organisations.
In a country where women have recently won the right to vote, Nadim has been covering the country’s football teams. She has seen the rise of the Taliban and the impact of war on the people and the country they call home.
In 2003, Afghanistan’s women’s football team was sent to the international finals, but when they arrived, they found the country was in a state of crisis. In May of that year, the Taliban had taken control of the capital of Kabul and were holding everyone in the country under their rule.
We met Nadim three years after the Taliban takeover, just as the country was beginning to rebuild. Her team had brought the country the championship, but the Taliban had left Nadim, her team-mates and her country in ruins.
I have been covering women’s football for more than ten years. In 2008, Afghanistan held the World Cup of Women’s Football, and Nadim was one of the players who helped the nation come first in the tournament. This year, Nadim was back in the position she occupied earlier in the decade – a reporter who was in a place where women’s rights are threatened by the Taliban.
Nadia Nadim in Kabul, Afghanistan
At the start of the conflict, Afghanistan was a moderate Islamic nation. It was ruled by a family of seven, and the president was chosen by his father, a leader of the country’s religious establishment. There have been calls for more women’s rights in Afghanistan, but they have been ignored by the Taliban.
In 2009, Nadim’s team, which came second in the competition, faced a Taliban team in the final. The Taliban won, and