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Afghanistan Reinstated to Olympic Movement - 2003-06-29

The International Olympic Committee reinstated Afghanistan to the Olympic movement Sunday, clearing the way for the country's athletes to take part in next summer's 2004 games in Athens.

The IOC's action ends the suspension that began in October of 1999, when the country's former Taliban leaders banned female athletes from competition.

Since the Taliban fell in late 2001, the IOC has been helping Afghanistan rebuild its Olympic committee. IOC sports director Gilbert Felli says the committee will consider whether Afghan athletes can meet qualifying standards or will need wild card entries.

Afghanistan last sent a team to an Olympics in 1996, when three dozen athletes travelled to the Summer Games in Atlanta. Afghan authorities say the nation could field competitors in wrestling, boxing, taekwondo, and track and field.

Also Sunday, the IOC board recommended that full recognition be granted to the national Olympic committee of East Timor.