Taliban beheaded Afghanistan volleyball player: coach

An Afghan volleyball player on the girls’ national team was beheaded by the Taliban – with gruesome images of her severed head posted on social media, according to her coach.

Mahjabin Hakimi, one of the best players in Kabul Municipality’s volleyball club, was slaughtered in the capital Kabul when troops were looking for female sports players, her coach told the Persian Independent.

Two members of Mahjabin Hakimi managed to flee the country while the rest of the team and her family were threatened with silence about Mahjabin Hakimi's death.
Two members of Mahjabin Hakimi managed to flee the country while the rest of the team and her family were threatened with silence about Mahjabin Hakimi’s death.
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She was killed earlier in the month, but her death remained largely hidden because her family had been threatened not to speak, the coach claimed, using a pseudonym, Suraya Afzali, due to security concerns.

Pictures of Hakimi’s severed neck were posted on Afghan social media, according to the newspaper, which did not say how old she was.

Mahjabin Hakimi was slaughtered in the capital Kabul as Taliban troops searched for female athletes.
Mahjabin Hakimi was slaughtered in Kabul as Taliban troops searched for female athletes.
Twitter

Conflicting reports online suggested it happened earlier, with an apparent death certificate suggesting she was killed on August 13 – the last days of the Taliban insurgency before taking Kabul.

However, the Payk Investigative Journalism Center also said its sources confirmed that Hakimi “was ‘beheaded’ of the Taliban in Kabul. “The ruling group has not yet commented, Payk Media said.

Afzali told the Persian Independent that she spoke out to highlight the risk that female sports players face, where only two of female volleyball teams had managed to flee the country.

“All the players from the volleyball team and the rest of the female athletes are in a bad situation and in despair and fear,” she told the newspaper. “Everyone has been forced to flee and live in unknown places.”

One of the players who escaped, Zahra Fayazi, told the BBC last month that at least one of the players had been killed.

“We do not want this to be repeated for our other players,” she told the TV station from her new home in the UK.

“Many of our players, who are from provinces, were threatened many times by their relatives, who are Taliban and Taliban supporters.

Many women are persecuted by the Taliban due to the fact that the extremist group believes that women should be subordinate to men and have no rights.
Many women are persecuted by the Taliban due to the fact that the extremist group believes that women should be subordinate to men and have no rights.
PA Pictures / Sipa USA
Taliban members stop women protesting for women's rights in Kabul.  The Taliban allegedly beat several journalists to try to cover up the protest.
Taliban members stop women protesting for women’s rights in Kabul. The Taliban allegedly beat several journalists to try to cover up the protest.
BULENT KILIC / AFP via Getty Images

“The Taliban asked the families of our players not to allow their girls to play sports, otherwise they will be confronted with unexpected violence,” Fayazi said.

“They even burned their sports equipment to save themselves and their families. They did not want them to keep anything related to sports. They are scared,” she said.

Afghan women sing slogans and hold posters during a women's rights protest in Kabul on October 21, 2021
Afghan women sing slogans and hold posters during a women’s rights protest in Kabul on October 21, 2021.
BULENT KILIC / AFP via Getty Images
A Taliban soldier holds his pistol while standing in the middle of protesters during the anti-Pakistani protest in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A Taliban soldier holds his pistol while standing in the middle of the protesters during the protest in Kabul, Afghanistan.
WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Another teammate who fled told the BBC that everyone was “shocked” when they heard that one of their teams had been killed.

“I’m sure it was the Taliban,” said Sophia, a pseudonym for protecting her family members who are still in Afghanistan. “Maybe we’ll lose other friends,” she said.

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