Taliban shoots dead Afghan folk singer after banning playing music in public

29 August 2021, 11:05 | Updated: 29 August 2021, 13:06

Folk singer Fawad Andarabi was shot dead by the Taliban
Folk singer Fawad Andarabi was shot dead by the Taliban. Picture: Twitter

By Asher McShane

The Taliban has shot dead a well-known folk singer in a village in Afghanistan after imposing a ban on music being played in public, according to local reports.

Singer Fawad Andarabi was “brutally killed” in the village of Andarab, according to multiple reports. He was said to have been dragged from his village home before being shot dead.

He was killed near Panjshir Valley, a region where parts of the population are rejecting Taliban rule.

Afghanistan's former interior minister Masoud Andarabi posted online: "Taliban’s brutality continues in Andarab.

"Today they brutally killed folkloric singer, Fawad Andarabi who simply was brining 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."

The Taliban has banned playing music in public.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told the New York Times in a recent interview that music is "un-Islamic."

“Music is forbidden in Islam, but we’re hoping that we can persuade people not to do such things, instead of pressuring them," he said.

The Taliban's chief spokesman announced the move as he tried to give the impression that the group had moved to a more moderate position.

The Taliban only permitted religious singing during its former government.

But retired senior military and diplomatic figures have said the Taliban is unlikely to have changed since it was last in power in Afghanistan 20 years ago,

The group, which seized Kabul a fortnight ago, has been at pains to stress that its attitudes towards issues such as women being allowed to go to work and violence had shifted.

But the UK's former ambassador to Afghanistan and a former head of the British Army both said they did not believe this was the case.

A UN representative also condemned the killing.

United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune posted online: "As UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, with Unesco Goodwill Ambassador on artistic freedom, I express grave concern about reports of the terrible killing of singer Fawad Andarabi.

"We call on governments to demand the Taliban respect the human rights of artists.

"We reiterate our plea for governments to find safe, effective ways for artists & cultural workers who need to do so to get out of Afghanistan."