Nearly 20 Afghan bikers celebrated the end of Taliban rule with the country’s first bike race for five years The route was only 25 miles from Kabul to Charikar, but additional obstacles included bomb craters and the old front line minefield.
Part of the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law made public sports events illegal, and we presume shaved legs were forbidden by the same laws that made beards obligatory. Now it’s great to see cycling being seized as an early expression of freedom, and hope those eager Afghan legs didn’t ache too much after a five year lay-off.
A representative of Afghanistan’s Olympic Committee, Mahmood Azani, told Reuters television “During Taliban times we weren’t allowed to do sports, it was very difficult. Now with freedom we can do what we want, so we are organising this race.”
The race was staged in honour of the late Ahmed Shah Masood, the Northern Alliance’s legendary commander, killed by terrorists just before the September 11th attacks on New York.