Afghan musicians flee Kabul, fearing for their lives and dire future for art under Taliban rule
As the Taliban tighten its grip on power in Afghanistan, patrons of the popular Afghan music in Pakistan are shutting their offices with artistes in Kabul being forced to flee into hiding, resulting in cancellation of music programmes and huge losses for the industry.
The Taliban swept across the country last month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1. On August 15, the capital city of Kabul fell to the insurgents.
Since then, music artistes have taken their instruments home, or crammed them into store rooms, waiting to see if the group will again ban music as they did 20 years ago.
Fearing for their lives, some artists and singers have started arriving in Pakistan.
Pasun Munawar, an Afghan singer, said: “Taliban will not leave us if we quit our profession. All music programmes have been cancelled after the Taliban took control of Kabul.” Another singer Ajmal said he changed his attire and arrived in Peshawar after the fall of Kabul.
“We have no enmity with the Taliban. We consider them as our brothers are insecure under their rule because they do not like our work,” he said.
People who love Afghan music and are associated with it in Peshawar, including singers and music composers, have shut their offices due to the fast-changing situation in Afghanistan. It has upended business and resulted in losses running in millions of rupees.
“Afghan people like music a lot. We welcome Afghan artistes and singers on our soil who have come here due to fear or threat to their lives in Afghanistan,” he said.
Afghanistan's new rulers have formed an all-male, all-Taliban government, but the messages their commanders are sending out regarding music are mixed.
Days after the statement from the Taliban spokesman, Afghan folk singer Fawad Andarabi was dragged from his home and allegedly killed by the Taliban in Baghlan province, some 100 kilometres north of Kabul.
Afghanistan's former Minister of Interior Massoud Andarabi, who is also from the district for which the family is named, spoke publicly about his death.
''Taliban's brutality continues in Andarab. Today they brutally killed folkloric singer, Fawad Andarabi who simply was bringing joy to this valley and its people. As he sang here ''our beautiful valley ... land of our forefathers ...'' will not submit to Taliban's brutality,'' he had tweeted.
The killing had raised concerns about a return to the harsh form of rule the Taliban imposed when it was last in control of Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001. During that time, the Taliban banned most forms of music as un-Islamic.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)