07 July 2020

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Friday February 28, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Hard-hitting Afghanistan wicket-keeper batsman, who has been out of international action for a while, is all set to return in national colors after Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) lifted the ban imposed on him on Wednesday.
Earlier, the board imposed the ban on the flamboyant opening batsman after he was found breaching code of conduct for touring abroad to feature in the tournament without their consent.
Shahzad was also pulled out of the World Cup last year in England, mid-way, after he suffered an injury to the knee. However, Shahzad claimed that he was sent back home unjustly as he was fit enough to play the matches in the multilateral event.
ACB on Wednesday took to its social media handle to break the news. “ACB Discipline Committee lifts playing ban on Wicket-Keeper Batman @MShahzad077 after Chairman @Farhan_YusEfzai accepted his (MS) mercy appeal but, his contract ban will continue till the imposed date August 2020. (sic),” the board posted.
“As per ACB’s policies, any player traveling out of the country is required to seek the permission of ACB. Shahzad has not adhered to this, repetitively,” ACB stated in a press release earlier last year in August.
“Mohammad Shahzad did not attend meetings scheduled with the Discipline Committee on 20th and 25th of the last month. The Discipline Committee will meet after Eid-ul Adha holidays to assess the breaches by Mohammad Shahzad and make a decision to be published soon,” concluded ACB’s statement.
Later, the 33-year-old, who gained prominence with his swashbuckling approach at the T20 World Cup in 2016, retaliated by saying that he did not wish to represent Afghanistan anymore.
“I don’t see myself playing anymore. It’s a dream to play in the World Cup. I was removed from the 2015 World Cup [he wasn’t selected for fitness reasons] and now this one as well. I am going to consult with friends and family. My heart isn’t in cricket anymore,” Shahzad commented, according to India Today.
Afghanistan plays Ireland next for a three-match T20I series at their adopted home-ground in Greater Noida, starting March 6. However, Shahzad is not included in the squad.

Sunday, February 09, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The Deputy Minister of Finance, Admin and Tourism of the Ministry of Information and Culture, Sayeda Mojgan Mostafavi inaugurated Ski Competition as part of the ministry’s winter tourism festival, here on Saturday in Dasht-e-Kham area, in outskirt of Bamyan city.
Inaugurating the competition, the deputy minister said the main goal behind Ski Competition was to hel improve tourism during winter season in the ancient province.
Bamyan with its reach historic and ancient sites, has always been the bet tourist destination during the summer season, however it has the potential to attract tourists during the winter season too,” the deputy minister added, saying winter games initiated by the ministry to help promote tourism during the cold season in the province.
Mostafavi also hailed the civil and cultural activists for encouraging and supporting the Ski Competions and called it a major achievement for the residents of Bamyan.  She admitted that the ongoing violence in the country was a major obstacle to organize big sporting events but said show was hopeful that the situation remains stable in Bamyan so that such events can be organized in the future.
“I have been in Bamyan for two weeks now touring around the mountain.  Today, just we did the Afghan Ski Competition and it was an absolutely incredible race,” a skier, Mariam Baqer said.
“I pray for durable peace in the country, so that everyone could visit Bamyan, as the province having its beauties in each season,” another skier, Ali Reza Ghulami said.
The second winter tourism festival was opened on February 6th and will be continued till March 5th, 2020.

Friday February 7, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Aspen! Zermatt! Kabul? While Afghanistan’s capital may seem an unlikely destination for snowboarders, a group of young Afghans is looking to put the city on the winter sports map and change perceptions about their war-weary nation.
Kabul is better known for its hulking concrete blast walls and tense security checkpoints. But it also sits in a valley in the Hindu Kush Mountains at an elevation of around 1,800 meters. The rugged terrain has inspired young Afghans to take to the surrounding mountains in search of fun.
Ahmad Romal Hayat, 22, who founded the Afghanistan Snowboarding Federation, said that even a country plagued by war and sectarian conflict can have room for sports.
“We started doing it [snowboarding] to show this new face to the world,” said Mr Hayat.
As a teenager, he started out on a skateboard. Later, he bought a snowboard in neighboring Iran and taught himself how to ride it. Mr Hayat said he’s the first person to bring a snowboard into Afghanistan, and the first to try it there.
These days, he and handful of federation members hit the slopes outside Kabul each weekend, usually with around a dozen male and female students and plenty of spectators. They come for the free training on a snowy hillside west of the capital, often shrouded in pale grey mist.
The mountain, known as Kohe Koregh, was used by the Afghan mujahideen to rain artillery and rockets down on Kabul during the Afghan civil war in the 1990s.
Now, it’s a place for laughing kids who sledge on plastic bags, while Mr Hayat’s team members work on improving their snowboarding skills on about 60 centimeters of snow.
They still have to share snowboards, and the hill has no lift facility. That means they’ve got to hike back up to the top after each run – a tiring process.
While climbing back up the hill, Karim Faizi described his path to becoming a snowboarding instructor. He fled Afghanistan in 2016 to escape the almost two-decade-old war between the US and Taliban militants.
He ended up seeking asylum in Germany where he fell in love with snowboarding. In 2018, he returned to Afghanistan, saying he did so without awaiting a final decision on his asylum case.
Now he is worried about the future.
“If the Taliban come back, it’ll be impossible to keep snowboarding, because the Taliban are not sports-friendly people. They want neither peace nor sports,” he said. A few sports, like soccer and wrestling, were allowed during the Taliban’s harsh religious rule from 1996 to 2001.
Fighting between the Taliban on one side and the United States and its Afghan government allies on the other has continued to rage, even as the US works to hammer out a peace agreement with the insurgent group. The US and the Taliban are negotiating a reduction in hostilities or a cease-fire to allow the signing of a peace agreement.
That deal would open the way to a broader post-war agreement for Afghans, and allow for the withdrawal of most, if not all, US and coalition forces.
The country’s post-war future and the role of the Taliban remains unclear. The Taliban currently control or hold sway over around half the country.
Right now, the only places with enough security to offer winter sports activities are in Kabul and the central province of Bamiyan. Hayat said skiers and snowboarders haven’t been able to explore mountains with great potential in Ghazni and Wardak provinces southwest of the capital because the Taliban hold those areas.
Bamiyan province is infamous for once being home to two massive 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha carved into a mountain, which the Taliban blew up in 2001.
But Bamiyan also hosts a skiing competition each year, and the country’s small snowboarding community is set to travel there for an indoor competition on Saturday. They’re also heading east to neighboring Pakistan’s picturesque Swat valley later this month to take part in an outdoor competition.
Mr. Hayat has registered the Afghan chapter with the International Snowboard Federation, although the Afghan government offers no financial support. Mr. Faizi said he dreams of returning to train in Germany, and to one day represent Afghanistan in the Winter Olympics.
But back on the slopes of Kohe Koregh, some young Afghans were excited to simply get their first taste of snowboarding.
Zahra Hakimi, 16, is a member of the minority Hazara ethnic group. She came with friends to watch the snowboarders. She and another friend eventually decided to give it a shot.
At first, Ms. Hakimi struggled to keep her balance, but eventually managed to go 10 meters at a time without falling.
“When I see how crazy people are for this sport – girls and boys trying, falling down again and again but still keep doing it – I really believe it has a bright future,” she said.

Friday February 7, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Left-arm pacer Shapoor Zadran has got a recall from the national team as Afghanistan announced their squad for the three-match T20I series against Ireland in March this year.
While Zadran played his last T20I in June 2018, his last appearance for the national team came in March 2019. The 15-man squad also sees the inclusion of 19-year-old all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai, regarded as a bright prospect. He averages 49.66 with the bat and 20.43 with the ball in first-class cricket.
Usman Ghani is back in the squad as well. The opening batsman was not included in Afghanistan’s series against West Indies in October 2019. Talking about the squad, chief selector Andy Moles said: “We have selected the current best T20 players and hopefully will do better against Ireland.” The series will be played in India from March 6. Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground in Greater Noida is the venue for the whole series, as this has been the home side of the Afghan team for some time now. Earlier, there was supposed to be a one-off Test match as well on the itinerary, but it was dropped due to financial constraints of the Ireland cricket board. The last time these two sides faced off in a T20I series, Afghanistan clean swept Ireland 3-0 in Dehradun. Full Squad: Asghar Afghan (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Karim Janat, Najib Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Naveen ul Haq, Shapoor Zadran, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Qais Ahmad, Azmatullah Omarzai, Samiullah Shinwari, Usman Ghani.

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