The IOC reported to the OCA General Assembly that assurances have been provided that Afghanistan will send mixed teams to upcoming major events ©Getty Images

Afghanistan has committed to sending teams containing both men and women to the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou and the 2024 Olympics in Paris, it was revealed at the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly here today.

Hardline Islamist group the Taliban swept back to power in the country in August last year following the withdrawal of United States troops, prompting widespread concern over the rights of women in society, including their access to sport.

The takeover led to an exodus of hundreds of thousands of people from Afghanistan.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach promised after an Executive Board meeting last month that the Lausanne-based organisation was "monitoring this very closely", and that it had received "different signals" from across Afghanistan on the status of women in sport.

At the OCA General Assembly, Jérôme Poivey, head of international relations and governance in the IOC's National Olympic Committees (NOCs) relations department, claimed that progress had been made on securing Afghanistan's involvement in mixed competitions at major sports events.

Jérôme Poivey said that the IOC had received a
Jérôme Poivey said that the IOC had received a "clear commitment" from sports authorities on the access to sport for women and young girls in Afghanistan ©OCA/YouTube

"We have had two meetings, one last year and another one in June this year with the NOC of Afghanistan and the sports authorities, and of course one of the key elements of our discussion was the access to sport for everyone including women and young girls," he told delegates.

"This is a key priority for the IOC, and together with the OCA we had the joint meeting with the sports authorities and the NOC of Afghanistan.

"We received a clear commitment from them about this specific issue, and also a clear commitment that they will be sending mixed teams in the next Asian Games next year and also in the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

"Of course we will be monitoring the situation there, and we will present a full report to the IOC Executive Board in December this year.

"In the meantime, we continue to support the athletes' preparations and also participation in international sports competitions as much as we can."

The IOC has pointed to plans for Paris 2024 to be the first "fully gender-balanced Games" with an equal number of male and female competitors.

Afghanistan made its Olympic debut at Berlin in 1936.

It was banned from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney due to the Taliban Government's discrimination against women and their opposition to them playing sports.

When they returned at Athens in 2004, the team included women for the first time, judoka Friba Rezayee and sprinter Masoud Azizi.

Afghanistan was represented at Tokyo 2020 by four male and one female athlete, sprinter Kamia Yousufi.

The Taliban's return to power sparked global fears over the rights of women in Afghanistan ©Getty Images
The Taliban's return to power sparked global fears over the rights of women in Afghanistan ©Getty Images

A total of 47 athletes competed for Afghanistan across 11 sports at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya in August, with more women than men in the team.

According to Bach, though, the female participants were all living outside of Afghanistan.

Taliban officials had pledged to the IOC in November last year to allow Afghan athletes and teams to compete internationally.