KEY POINTS

  • Volleyball player Mahjabin Hakimi was beheaded by Taliban militants in early October, a women's team coach said
  • Photos of what appeared to be her severed head and bloodied neck circulated on social media
  • The coach said other women athletes in Afghanistan are under serious threat

Members of the Taliban beheaded a junior player of Afghanistan's women's national volleyball team as the group continued to hunt down other women athletes across the country.

One of the coaches for the Afghan women's national volleyball team said in an interview with the Persian Independent that Mahjabin Hakimi was beheaded by Taliban militants in Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul in early October.

Photos of what appeared to be Hakimi's severed head and bloodied neck circulated on Afghan social media, according to the outlet.

Only the former Kabul Municipality Volleyball Club star's family knew the exact time and manner of her death, said the coach, who was identified with the pseudonym Suraya Afzali for security reasons.

Additionally, the incident remained hidden because Hakimi's family was threatened by the Taliban not to talk about it, Afzali alleged.

Hakimi's death has reportedly fueled fears of being targeted by the Taliban and individuals who have sought to disrupt women's sports.

All women's activities in the sports, political and social spheres have allegedly ceased since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August.

Only two players from the Afghan women's national volleyball team, which was established in 1978, were able to leave the country prior to the takeover.

Female athletes left in Afghanistan, especially members of the Afghan women's national volleyball team who have competed in foreign and domestic competitions as well as appeared in media programs, are under serious threat, Afzali said.

"All the players on the volleyball team and the rest of the women athletes are in a bad situation and in despair and fear," the coach was quoted as saying.

"Everyone has been forced to flee and live in unknown places," he added.

Members of the Afghan women's national volleyball team have attempted to gain the support of foreign organizations and countries to leave Afghanistan, but their efforts have been unsuccessful so far.

Several female athletes were part of the group of 369 people evacuated by the government of Qatar from Afghanistan Wednesday.

"Today is a very, very sweet day for all of us because after many, many weeks, our trek starts and we are very happy," 28-year-old basketball player Tahera Yousofi, who was evacuated with other female basketball and football players to Doha, was quoted as saying.

Wednesday’s flight also included more than 55 people who were evacuated in coordination with global football body FIFA.

afghanistan-60641_1920 Representation. Members of the Afghan women's national volleyball team have allegedly been forced to flee following the Taliban's takeover in August. Photo: Pixabay