Time magazine this week has a feature on the bizarre story of the mysterious disappearance of Afghanistan's only female, Olympics-bound runner. The 19-year-old Afghan middle distance runner, Mehbooba Andyar, went missing in Italy last week while on her way to the Olympics in China. Friends and co-athletes have not seen her since July 4, when she left her training facility in Formia, Italy.
Police are not ruling out any possibilities, although her missing bags and passport do indicate that she may have left on her own. Some believe she's seeking asylum in Europe over fear of Muslim extremists in her homeland where she faced constant rumors of prostitution and repeated threats of violence.
In a recent interview, Andyar said, "I'm the model for my country, being a woman in a typical Muslim nation. I'm very proud to say that I will be participating in the Olympic Games. By virtue of these opportunities, many women from my country are participating in many sports, and this will help to develop a better managed country."