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|August 19, 2000||
Taleban reports end of Olympic suspension
The IOC has ended a suspension of Afghan Olympic chiefs by inviting representatives of the ruling Taleban movement to attend the Sydney Olympics next month, a Taleban minister said on Friday.
Last year the International Olympic Committee suspended the Taleban's Olympic Committee, saying the body had no control over sports in the country.
But Sports Minister Abdul Shukoor Mutmaen said on Friday: "The IOC has offered invitations to two of our Olympic committee members for the Sydney Games and this means that they recognise us.
"I am thrilled by this. Our problem with IOC is over."
Mutmaen said the decision was taken after a recent meeting with IOC officials.
Mutmaen said the IOC argued that shortage of time and lack of accommodation forced it not to invite Afghan sportsmen. Despite that, he said, his athletes were ready to go if the IOC could find means of accommodation.
Mutmaen said his committee had versatile and qualified athletes in wrestling, boxing and martial arts.
"Our delegates said that we are keen on sports and asked them not to link sports with politics and now two of our representatives can go to Sydney as observers by carrying the white flag of the (Islamic) Emirate (of Afghanistan)," he added.
The Taleban, which has vowed to make Afghanistan the world's purest Islamic state, controls about 90 per cent of the country including the capital Kabul, which it seized more than three years ago.
It has banned women from sports and all outdoor work except in the health sector.
Mail Sports Editor
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