THE WORLDPOST
01/03/2012 07:42 pm ET

Afghanistan's First Female Boxing Team (VIDEO)

She's not just boxing for herself, but for her country, Shabnam Rahimi told MSNBC.

Shabnam and her sister Sadaf are the stars of Afghanistan's first female boxing team. Together they share one dream: to reach the 2012 Olympics in London.

The team was created in 2007, and about 25 girls and women are registered with the boxing federation. The team practices in the basement of a stadium that was once used as a Taliban punishment camp -- a place where women have been stoned to death.

Shabnam and Sadad recently won gold and silver medals in Tajikistan, and they are determined to compete in the Olympics, too. "My dream is that I should represent my country all over the world, especially in the Olympics, raising the flag for my country,” Shabnam said.

Yet although they receive support from the Afghan Olympic Committee, the team members battle strong opposition.

Reuters reports:

"Two years ago someone called my father...and threatened that he would either kidnap or kill us if he let us train," 19- year-old Shabnam said.

They did not return to training for a month, until their trainer offered to organize transport for the girls, and still limit workouts to the gym, where the government provides security.

Under the Taliban, women were banned from sports and education. No Afghan woman has ever won a medal at the Olympic games, but that may change at this year's games in London.

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