Will ICC allow Afghanistan to participate in T20I World Cup in UAE amid 'Haqqani network influence'?

© Provided by Jagran English

New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Afghanistan’s participation in the upcoming T20I World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman from October 17 remains uncertain as the country’s top cricket board official has been replaced after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.

According to a report by news agency PTI, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to decide on Afghanistan’s participation. The report said that the board is also bracing up for the possibility of the Taliban flag being pushed as the Afghan flag at the World Cup.

However, the report said that the change of flag might not be allowed by the ICC as other countries, apart from Pakistan where Taliban has got strong support, might not be willing to compete against Afghanistan under a changed flag.

“It’s still early days. Till now, there has been no request to play under Taliban flag but as far as governance is concerned, the ICC Board needs to take a call. Everyone is tracking the developments in Afghanistan,” PTI quoted an ICC board member as saying.

“Normally, even if ICC bans a cricket board, it ensures that players don’t get affected. A Rashid Khan or a Mohammed Nabi are not at fault,” the board member said.

As per the ICC’s membership criteria, an applicant must have “the appropriate status, structure, recognition, membership and competence to be recognized by the ICC (at its absolute discretion) as the primary governing body responsible for the administration, management and development of cricket (men’s and women’s) in its country.”

It also requires the member country to have “satisfactory women’s pathway structures in place, and a sustained and sufficient pool of players to support strong and consistent national level selection across the senior men’s, U19 and women’s teams”.

With the Taliban banning women’s cricket, Afghanistan is already in serious violation of the requisite criteria. The change of guard at the ACB, according to Shinwari, was done at the behest of Anas Haqqani, younger brother of Taliban’s new Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani of the infamous ‘Haqqani Network’.

Sirajuddin Haqqani has been on the FBI’s radar for various attacks on Kabul during the presence of US-backed governments and the ‘Haqqani Network’, since 2012, has been dubbed as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the US government.

The reason being its involvement in the insurgency, attacks on US military and civilian personnel as well as hurting Western interests in Afghanistan. The Haqqanis also have close ties to terror group al-Qaeda.

(With inputs from PTI)

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