The volatile security situation in Pakistan continues to scare away foreign athletes and in the latest setback, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Nepal have pulled out of the 15th Tour de Pakistan cycle race owing to safety concerns.
An official in the Pakistan Cycling Federation said the three countries have opted out of the race which begins March 1 from Peshawar.
"Obviously they have security concerns and have pulled out for this reason but the Afghanistan team has already reached Peshawar on Saturday," the official said.
On reaching Peshawar via Torkham, the eight-member Afghanistan team, that includes five cyclists and three officials, was given a warm welcome by organisers.
NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani will inaugurate the race, which will conclude on March 13 at the Mazar-e-Quaid, Karachi after going through 11 stages.
Interestingly, the secretary of the PCF had earlier claimed they didn't invite India for the race to protest the snub given to Pakistani cricketers at the Indian Premier League auction.