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Afghan volleyball athlete reportedly beheaded by the Taliban

Plot twist after plot twist
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Taliban regained control over Afghanistan on 15, August 2021 when the U.S. decided to withdraw its troops.

Over the past few months, the Taliban has further radicalise the country, declaring the country an “Islamic Emirate“.

Read more: A Brief Overview On The Taliban And Afghanistan

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On October 20, reports surfaced accusing the group of beheading a member of the country’s women volleyball team.

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However, there were there have been claims that the news is untrue.

Taliban’s View on Women

The Islamic group are notoriously known for their extreme interpretation of Islamic Shariah laws.

Concerns have been raised about the group’s approach toward human rights especially in relation to women.

Veiled students attend a Taliban rally at the Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul. – BBC

When they took over Afghanistan, the Taliban openly spoken about its plan to reform their views. They vowed to respect women, and to “honour women’s rights within the norms of Islamic law.”

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Unfortunately, current affairs prove otherwise.

According to BBC, the Taliban have reformed a new cabinet made up of established Taliban leaders and no women included.

Additionally, they have dissolved the women’s affairs ministry and replaced it with the Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

This ministry seeks to further enforce strict religious doctrines.

In the three months of their governance, the Taliban prohibited girls from attending schools, with the exception of education from homes and charities.

They have also told female civil servants to stay at home.

Suffice to say, initial vows made by Taliban were nothing more than empty promises.

News reports on the athlete’s passing

On October 20, global news media reported that Mahjabin Hakimi, a female volleyball player for Afghanistan had been beheaded by the Islamist group. Most of them cited Persian Independent as source.

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The interviewee was Hakimi’s coach, who was cited under a pseudonym – Suraya Afzali. Afzali claimed that Hakimi was killed in early October but her death was buried and her family threatened to not speak.

Interviewed under an alias -Sraya Afzali, Hakimi’s coach claimed that the athlete was killed in early October.

He stated that her death was concealed and her family her family threatened to remain silent.

Misleading news of her death

Later that day, Alt News‘s investigation refuted the circulating report. Their investigation disclosed that Hakimi died before August 15.

According to their report, journalist Deepa Parent claims to have spoken to Hakimi’s family members and affirms her caused of death were not at the hands the Taliban, but her own.

They tracked down Hakimi’s brother on Facebook. They discovered a photo of Hakimi in military gear captioned “I will always be proud of you sister.”

Suicide or homicide?

Alt New’s investigation opened up another lead to her cause of death. Twitter user Raihana Hashimi who claimed to have known Hakimi believes that she was murdered by her in laws.

In their pursuit of revealing the truth, the news outlet reached out to Hakimi’s family for more information.

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They gathered that she was engaged and staying with her fiancé.

The reason of conflict with her in-laws were allegedly related to Hakimi’s U.S scholarship. Alt News has contacted her fiancé but has yet to receive a response.

“She was not killed by the Taliban in October. Mahjabin’s death occurred on August 6 and her body was found in her fiancé’s bathroom in Kabul. He claimed Mahjabin suffocated herself to death. However, our family suspects foul play by her in-laws.”

Family member of Hakimi contacted by Alt News

Conclusion: Hakimi was not beheaded.

Alt News have concluded their investigation as such:

Mahjabin Hakimi’s death was either caused by suicide or her in-laws played a role in her death, as claimed by her family.

The family doesn’t believe that the Taliban were involved.

We cannot verify the cause or circumstances of her death but we can conclude that she died on August 6 and not in October as reported by Independent Persian and several media outlets. 

Furthermore, the photograph of her dead body shared by her father proves that she wasn’t beheaded.

The photo shared by Hakimi’s father to Alt News revealed that she has clear red marks on her throat, which proves that she was NOT beheaded.

Cover Images via Alt News


Proofreader: Grace Choong