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Afghan Musicians Fear Taliban Retribution

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The Taliban can try to persuade the Afghan people that they have changed their ways and will not impose oppressive rule all over Afghanistan, but you cannot blame the citizens of the war torn nation for believing otherwise.

After all, for the vast majority of Afghans, the memories of a terrifyingly-stringent Taliban, cracking the whip of Sharia Law for everyone whom they deem violators of the Islamic code. The thing is their interpretation of their laws are too strict and the penalties too harsh, that even the most innocent Afghans are now trembling in fear over the consequences of enjoying their personal liberties.

Aside from women and their fear of reprisal for going to school and not covering their faces, the local musicians are severely-anxious about the whole situation as well. 

“We are extremely anxious and terrified now because our art was also our livelihood. We have no other skills and won’t be able to pursue another job or career. Unlike others, we have no prospect of being allowed to escape to another country,” young rubab player Ahmad Khan said in an interview with RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal.

“We really don’t know what our fate will be. We request that the Taliban tell us what we can and can’t do so that we can get on with our lives. Musicians are already being forced to sell their belongings to survive the current uncertainty,” Khan continued.

The Taliban’s austere practice of their religious beliefs has terrorized freedom-seeking Afghans who just wanted to enjoy the culture that they love. The mujahideens have already stated in the past that music is disallowed in their religion, and those pronouncements are enough to petrify local artists and musicians alike.

Ahmad Sarmast, the head of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), witnessed the tyrannical Taliban regime’s hatred for the arts, and he fears that the same despotic rule will be returning very soon. ANIM is a music school that is responsible for pumping life into Afghan’s rich musical roots. Unfortunately, they have remained closed since the Taliban captured Kabul.

“We all clearly remember the past: the destruction of the musical instruments, hanging instruments on trees, and punishing people for playing, learning, or listening to music. Based on how the foot soldiers of the Taliban are now behaving in Kabul, we have reason to worry about the future of music in Afghanistan,” Sarmast said in an interview.

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