Tokyo Paralympics: Afghanistan flag spreads message of 'solidarity and peace' during opening ceremony
Spreading a "message of solidarity and peace", the Afghanistan flag was carried during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Tuesday (August 24) even though the country's athletes are not participating in the Games.
Amid political chaos and unfortunate turn of events, the Afghanistan Paralympic Committee withdrew from the Paralympic Games after flights being cancelled out of the nation's capital, Kabul.
Taekwondo athlete Zakia Khudadadi and discus thrower Hossain Rasouli were supposed to represent Afghanistan at the games, but they could not travel to Japan after the Taliban took control over the country, routing government forces.
However, it was decided that the flag would be represented in Japan as 'an act of solidarity and peace' according to International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons earlier in the week.
"We will include the Afghanistan flag in the Ceremony in a sign of solidarity," said Parsons.
"It is important to highlight that as it is a message of solidarity and peace that we send to the world.
"We would like to have them here, unfortunately it is not possible, but they will be here in spirit."
The flag was carried into the Opening Ceremony by a Tokyo 2020 volunteer.