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PA via Reuters Recently arrived Afghan citizens take part in a cricket match with members of Newport Pagnell Town Cricket Club in Buckinghamshire, organised by the club as a gesture to welcome them to the UK.

If the Taliban builds a cricket stadium, will the world come?

The Taliban – which likes to use stadiums for public executions – now has ambitious plans to build a cutting-edge new sports facility for something else: cricket.

Afghanistan is cricket-crazy. Their underdog team pulled off a series of upsets at last year’s world cup – a momentary distraction from the country’s withering economic crisis. And although the squad still plays under the flag of the US-backed pre-Taliban government, they have powerful fans in Kabul – including Anas Haqqani, a Taliban official associated with a notorious terrorist group bearing his name – who provide political cover.

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Polish truckers block several border crossings with Ukraine in protest at what they say is Ukrainian haulers' free rein in Poland that is hurting their business.

Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/Sipa USA via Reuters

Hard Numbers: Truck backup at Polish border, Maldives says bye to India’s troops, Australia clinches Cricket World Cup, Swift postpones Rio show amid deadly heat

3,000: For the past 11 days, Polish truckers have blocked roads leading to three border crossings with Ukraine, protesting what they call “government inaction” over a loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Traffic is now backed up 30 kilometers on one of the routes, with an estimated 3,000 trucks waiting to cross.

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Afghanistan's captain Hashmatullah Shahidi celebrates the team's victory against Pakistan in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, at MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai on Monday.

ANI via Reuters

Afghanistan’s cricketers inspire nation with World Cup dream

The streets of Kabul erupted in joy Monday night as Afghans celebrated their national team’s massive upset victory against Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup. It’s a brief moment of elation amid the crushing crises that have immiserated millions since the US withdrawal.

The stunning eight-wicket win against one of the sport’s most celebrated sides put Afghanistan in a four-way tie for a knockout stage berth. They face an uphill climb for a shot at the trophy, though: The mighty South African and Australian teams are sure to put Afghan bowlers and batters through their paces, and they’ll have to beat both Sri Lanka and the Netherlands as well. If they manage to pull it off, waiting in the knockout stages is thus-far undefeated India, playing at home to roaring crowds.

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