Taliban still cast shadow over Afghanistan football

India beat his team 2-0 in one of the early matches of the AFC Challenge Cup in Chittagong, Bangladesh, but Afghanistan coach Mohamed Kargar says he is confident that his team will soon earn a good position in Asian football. "We will soon obtain a satisfactory position for football in Asia as our young players are working hard," Kargar told Reuters. "We could not play well against India, despite good support from local spectators, because India is a stronger team," Kargar said.

He said football resumed in war-shattered Afghanistan only three years ago. "Football has regained its popularity as the country lacks other alternatives for entertainment in the conservative society," he said.

And although Afghanistan's women's football team now had "very good women footballers of international standard" from 14 local clubs, the government is still trying to break social taboos in sport, especially women's sport, imposed by the former Taliban regime.

"The Taliban are gone, but their legacy still works in different spheres," Kargar said.