Boxers happy in post-Taliban Afghanistan

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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As things limp back to normalcy in Afghanistan, sports has been a major gainer as well in the post-Taliban scenario. Cricket was allowed because the gear was not anti-Islam according the Taliban, but that was not the case with some other sports like swimming and boxing. In the heart of dusty Kabul, a group of boxers geared up for action in the ring after years of restriction by the Taliban. Long popular among Afghan men, boxing was largely neglected by the Taliban, who objected to western style clothing worn by boxers. But now nearly two weeks after the departure of the Taliban, boxing fans are returning to the sport in droves. Rahim Khan, a coach, said "When the Taliban government was in Kabul, when we wanted to practice our sport we had problems. We couldn't wear proper sports clothing and we couldn't practice." So far action is restricted only to the practice sessions, but boxers expect real matches to start in the coming weeks. Ali Shar, a boxer, said, "Twenty years ago during the Daoud Khan era, conditions for the sport were much better for us, for seven years I was the best in my class but I didn't travel to any foreign countries." Clearly after years of restrictions on the sport by the Taliban, these boxers are trying hard to get back in fighting shape.