A member of Afghanistan’s female youth volleyball team was beheaded by the Taliban, one of her coaches has claimed.
Mahjabin Hakimi was a successful player and rising star in the Kabul Municipality club.
She is understood to have been killed in early October; but her coach said no one outside her family, which was said to have been threatened into silence, knew exact the details or circumstances.
It is understood images of Mahjabin were posted online following her death.
Speaking to the Persian Independent, the coach, using the pseudonym Suraya Afzali, said female athletes across Afghanistan were under ‘serious threat’ in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover.
She said the militants had been looking for them, searching homes in several cities.
Just two members of the team had managed to flee the country since the Taliban took over, she claimed.
Suraya said: ‘All the players of the volleyball team and the rest of the women athletes are in a bad situation and in despair and fear.
‘Everyone has been forced to flee and live in unknown places.’
In September, a former member of the team who had managed to escape Afghanistan told the BBC one of their teammates had been killed by the Taliban.
Zahra Fayazi, who played for the team for seven years before becoming a coach; said players living in the provinces had to leave and live elsewhere.
Others took steps to try and hide the fact they had played sport.
She added: ‘They even burned their sports equipment to save themselves and their families.
They didn’t want them to keep anything related to sport.
They are scared.
Many of our players who are from provinces were threatened many times by their relatives who are Taliban and Taliban followers.
‘The Taliban asked our players’ families to not allow their girls to do sport; otherwise, they will be faced with unexpected violence.’
Volleyball is one of Afghanistan’s most popular sports.
The women’s team was set up in 1978, but was forced to cease activity from 1992 – 2002 due to the civil war and Taliban rule.
The team restarted when the Taliban were overthrown and has received strong support from within the country.
It competed in international and regional competitions and won trophies.
The women’s team was split into an adult and youth division with 14 players in each age group.