Mahjabin Hakimi, a member of the Afghan junior women’s national volleyball team, was allegedly beheaded by the Taliban for being a female athlete and speaking out for the rights of women in sports. Her coach claims that the young girl was killed in October, but her family was pressured to stay silent.


Hakimi’s family has since spoken out and refuted the coach’s claims. They say their daughter committed suicide. Alleged graphic photos of the young girl’s headless neck were posted on Afghan social media.

Hakimi was a rising star on the Afghan junior women’s national team and also competed on the Kabul Municipality Volleyball Club where she was one of their best players. Some think that Mahjabin Hakimi was killed because she was on the national volleyball team, which was made a target by the Taliban.

The women’s team, which was established in 1978, was considered a beacon of hope for young girls in Afghanistan. They also competed in many national and foreign competitions and appeared on TV, which is why some think they were targeted by the Taliban.

The young girl was one of many members of her team who were unable to flee when the Taliban took over Kabul in August.

Two members of her team were able to escape and according to these young women, who are keeping their identities a secret to protect themselves, they believe their friend was killed by the Taliban.

“I’m sure it was the Taliban,” said Sophia, a pseudonym to protect her family members still in Afghanistan. “Maybe we will lose other friends,” she said.

It is unclear when Mahjabin Hakimi was killed, as the manner of her death has been kept secret from everyone except her family. Some conflicting reports said the young girl died as early as Aug. 13, before the Taliban landed in Kabul.

Sources from the Payk Investigative Journalism Center have said that the girl died in Kabul, which would place her death after the Taliban took over the major city. The group has yet to comment on their alleged involvement in the killing.

According to the girl’s coach, who is going by the name Suraya Afzali for safety reasons, the young girl was actively speaking out for women’s rights in sports and she believes that was why she was beheaded.

Since the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan, female athletes have been in danger. The group is actively seeking out female athletes and making sure that they don’t play their sport. Many women have taken to burning their beloved sporting equipment because they are afraid of what the Taliban and their supporters could do to them.

“All the players on the volleyball team and the rest of the women athletes are in a bad situation and in despair and fear,” said Afzali.

Reports say that Mahjabin Hakimi, a Afghan volleyball player, was allegedly killed by the Taliban and photos of her beheading were published online. (Credit: Twitter)
Reports say that Mahjabin Hakimi, a Afghan volleyball player, was allegedly killed by the Taliban and photos of her beheaded body were published online. (Credit: Twitter)

Since the Taliban took control, many women’s sports teams have been able to flee. Last week, FIFA and the government of Qatar was able to evacuate over 100 female Afghan soccer players and their families. Some female athletes have been able to escape to Pakistan, but others, like Mahjabin Hakimi, were not.

The Afghan national handball team said that head of their federation was too lazy to help them escape and while the team tried to get on a plane at the Hamid Karzai International Airport when the United States was evacuating citizens, they were turned away.

Many of the members are in hiding or have moved to Kabul where they are less recognized. While the girls say that they have been forced to give up their sport, that doesn’t mean that they will stop fighting for their rights to play.

“We loved this sport from childhood. It was our dream to play. Our family supported us and convinced us to play the game,” Soraya Karimi,25, said. “We want the (Taliban) to understand, don’t keep us away from sports, from education. We are the future of the country. They should understand we are not of 20 years ago; we will stand for rights. We will fight.”