IOC President Thomas Bach said there was "no unified approach" in Afghanistan to ensuring women can access sport ©Getty Images

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has said that Taliban-controlled Afghanistan remains under close observation after receiving "different signals" on its approach to women in sport.

The IOC has been monitoring the situation in Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power in August last year following the withdrawal of American troops.

When the Islamist group that believes in Sharia law were last in control of Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, women were banned from taking part in sport, employment and education.

Bach said the IOC had provided the Taliban and the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee with a "roadmap" to ensure women can have access to sport.

"We are monitoring this very closely together with different partners on the ground including the UN [United Nations]," said Bach.

"These partners on the ground have a monitoring procedure of which a questionnaire is part of this in different areas, like food, education and safety.

"We managed to agree with them that they include two questions about sport and, in particular, their treatment of women with regard to sport so we get regular reporting of the status.

"What we can say is that there are different signals.

"You can see the developments in Kabul are different from the developments in some provinces.

"Some of the provinces are more liberal than Kabul, the capital, and are more in line with our roadmap than others.

It has been more than a year since the Taliban swept back into power in Afghanistan ©Getty Images
It has been more than a year since the Taliban swept back into power in Afghanistan ©Getty Images

"There is not a unified approach by the authorities in Afghanistan so what we told them in the last negotiations a couple of months ago is that we will monitor until the end of the year.

"We will then analyse the results of the monitoring procedure and together with our partners in the UN system and other NGOs [national governing bodies] we will draw our conclusions."

Earlier this month, James Macleod, the IOC’s director of Olympic Solidarity and National Olympic Committee (NOC) relations, said the Taliban showed a "positive sign" when Afghanistan sent a delegation of men and women to compete at the recent Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya.

A total of 47 athletes competed for Afghanistan across 11 sports in the Turkish city last month with more women than men in the team.

The representation at Konya 2021 follows the pledge made by Taliban officials to the IOC last November to allow Afghan athletes and teams to compete internationally.

But Bach said that the female participants were all living outside of Afghanistan.

More women than men represented Afghanistan at the Islamic Solidarity Games ©ITG
More women than men represented Afghanistan at the Islamic Solidarity Games ©ITG

"They had committed during the last negotiations round that there would be female members in the team [at the Islamic Solidarity Games]," said Bach.

"With the delivery of this promise, there is good news and not so good news.

"The good news is that finally the majority of the team were female athletes but the not so good news is that all of these female athletes were coming from outside of Afghanistan but accepted to be part of the team of Afghanistan and the NOC of Afghanistan during this Islamic Solidarity Games."

Bach heaped praise on the Australian Olympic Committee and the country’s Government in helping Afghan athletes relocate to Australia.

"We would like to thank the Australian authorities for the great effort that they have been undertaking," added Bach.

"They are one of the very few Governments which are still helping us by their granting of visas for a two-digit number of athletes and members of the Olympic community just recently.

"It’s a great humanitarian gesture of Australia which we greatly appreciate."