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Afghan karate champion Meena Asadi says Taliban ‘will never change’

Meena Asadi, Afghan Karate champion, who now resides in Indonesia, is worried about women and athletes in Afghanistan as Taliban has taken over the governance

Even though physically she may not be in present in Afghanistan with her compatriots, yet her heart beats and worries for them. Karate champion Meena Asadi keeps herself in shape and fit by training daily but fears for other female athletes who are stuck at home with Taliban at the helm of affairs.

At the age of 12 Asadi left Afghanistan to go to Pakistan. It is there she trained for karate, representing her country in the South Asian Games of 2010. In 2012 representing Afghanistan in the South Asian Karate Championship, Asadi won two silver medals.

Returning to her motherland in 2011, she started a fight club but soon had to give that up and leave the country for the second time due to escalating violence. She along with her husband and her one-year-old daughter landed in Indonesia. Here in a town which lies south of Jakarta, Cisarua, in a studio 28-year-old Asadi, guides and imparts karate training to refugees like her, who have pinned their hope of settling down in another nation.

Talking about the situation back home she told news agency Reuters: "I feel miserable. I lost my hope and the people of my country lost their hope, too.”

Also read: Cannes Award winner Shahrbanoo Sadat says Afghanistan situation has changed her cinema forever!

In their earlier rule in Afghanistan – from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban went by strict interpretation of Islamic law which was enforced with utmost severity, including harsh punishments. Women were forbidden to work outside and girls could not attend school while women had to cover their faces and had to be accompanied by a male relative, when they stepped out.

Asadi, who belongs to the minority Hazara community, dreads about her compatriots and is worried about the progress that was made during Taliban’s absence in governance. She observed: “All the achievements and values are destroyed, and this would be a dark moment for the people, especially for women and girls.” She added that: “everything is finished for women athletes.”

Also read: Fear, anguish and a sense of betrayal looms over artists of Afghanistan

Expressing her scepticism about Taliban’s assurance on the issues of education and employment for women, Asadi said: "They are the extremist party, and they don't believe in human rights or rights of women. They will never change…they are the same Taliban."