Afghanistan have sent 17 women to compete at Hangzhou 2022 ©Getty Images

More than a fifth of Afghanistan's delegation for the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games is set to be comprised of women.

It is mostly due to the presence of the volleyball squad which is the first time Afghanistan has been represented by a women's team.

Female athletes coming from Italy and Australia are also registered in cycling and athletics, respectively, for the country making its 15th appearance at the Games.

The 17 women, who were attending a training camp in Iran before departure, arrived the day after the men who were greeted at the team welcome ceremony at the Athletes' Village.

"We hope to have a good competition," said Afghanistan's Chef de Mission Khwaja Hashmatullah Rasa.

"In total we have 82 athletes in 16 sports disciplines, and our female athletes who coordinate with the OCA (Olympic Council of Asia) will participate in the Asian Games.

"The girls are coming here to participate in the Asian Games just like the men – as athletes."

Women are banned from participating in sports by the ruling Taliban which took power in 2021.

Afghanistan's men arrived separately to the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games as the 17 women are set to travel from abroad ©OCA
Afghanistan's men arrived separately to the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games as the 17 women are set to travel from abroad ©OCA

Rasa stated that the country's sporting authorities were "waiting for the situation to improve back home" before contemplating "how we can make a role as an Islamic country - and after they can have activity like school and sports."

The ruling has harmed Afghanistan's results with five silver and eight gold medals to its name as they still seek a first gold medal. 

Afghanistan has previously been offered the chance to compete on the condition that athletes do not compete under the Taliban flag.

"Participation of Afghan sportsmen without representing the Emirate and its flag will mean nothing," said former Afghanistan Olympic Committee President Abdul Shukoor Mutmaen, as reported by Reuters.

"We will not send anyone on an individual basis."

Rohullah Nikpai is Afghanistan's most successful athlete, with one taekwondo bronze medal at each of the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Rasa is wishing for similar success at Hangzhou, scheduled to run from tomorrow until October 8.

"Rohullah Nikpai is now coach, but we have new players in taekwondo and we hope they get some achievement and medals from the Asian Games," he said.