Abuse allegations land Afghan officials travel bans

KABUL • Five top football officials were slapped with a travel ban by the Afghanistan Attorney-General's office yesterday, hours after graphic details emerged of alleged sexual and physical abuse against members of the women's national team.

One player told Britain's The Guardian that Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) president Keramuddin Karim had lured her into a secret bedroom near his office where he allegedly pointed a gun at her after hitting her in the face and raping her.

Another player alleged Karim threatened to cut out her tongue after she managed to escape his unwanted sexual advances.

AFP's calls to Afghan association spokesman Shafi Shadab yesterday went unanswered.

The A-G's office has placed five officials, including Karim, on a "no-flying list and banned them from travelling out following the accusation of abusing the female players of the AFF", spokesman Jamshid Rasuli said in a tweeted statement.

Earlier this month, A-G M. Farid Hamidi suspended the five men to facilitate an investigation into the case first reported by The Guardian last month.

Football's world governing body Fifa also suspended Karim for 90 days over the allegations.

The newspaper previously cited what it described as senior figures associated with the women's team who said the abuse had taken place in Afghanistan, including the AFF headquarters, and a training camp in Jordan last February.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had ordered the A-G to conduct a "thorough investigation" into what he called "shocking" claims of abuse by male officials against members of the women's team, who played their first official international match in December 2010.

Afghanistan has made strides to promote women's football. As well as the national side, four years ago it launched its first all-women's league that ran in parallel with the men's.

But the women's teams were sidelined last year by a lack of funding.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2018, with the headline 'Abuse allegations land Afghan officials travel bans'. Print Edition | Subscribe