Afghan athlete Zakia Khudadadi has made an emotional plea and urged the global institutions for the protection of women to "help her" as she sought to escape Kabul to participate in the upcoming Paralympic Games.
Khudadadi, a 23-year-old athlete from Herat, would have been the first woman ever to represent Afghanistan at the Paralympics but she couldn't travel to Japan due to the ongoing political crisis in Afghanistan.
Taekwondo athlete Zakia Khudadadi and discus thrower Hossain Rasouli were scheduled to compete in the Para Games in Tokyo, to be held between August 24 and September 5. Khudadadi was due to fly to Japan on Monday (August 17) while the team had been scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on the 17th.
Also, note that The Taliban told reporters at their first official news conference in Kabul on Tuesday (August 17) that they would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law. However, Khudadadi's Paralympics fate remains unclear.
In a video message from Kabul sent to Reuters by the APC's London-based Chef de Mission Arian Sadiqi, Khodadadi said that she felt "imprisoned", staying with extended family but unable to leave the house with confidence to train, shop or check on others.
"I request from you all, that I am an Afghan woman and as a representative of Afghan women ask for you to help me. My intention is to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, please hold my hand and help me," she said.
"I urge you all, from the women around the globe, institutions for the protection of women, from all government organisations, to not let the rights of a female citizen of Afghanistan in the Paralympic movement to be taken away so easily," she added.