Fawad Andarabi, a well-known folk singer in Afghanistan was executed after the Taliban announced a ban on playing music in public, says local reports. The killing came just days after the Taliban said it hoped to ban music from being played publicly in Afghanistan.
Andarabi was executed in the village of Andarab
, located north of Kabul, where parts of the population are rejecting Taliban rule. He was said to have been playing the ghichak, which is a bowed lute, and sang traditional songs when he was dragged from his village home before being shot dead.
His son, Jawad, said that the singer was shot in the head for no reason at the family's farm just days after the Taliban searched his home and drank tea with him.
"He was innocent, a singer who only was entertaining people. They shot him in the head on the farm," Jawad said about his father's execution.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, denied reports of the Taliban exacting vengeance. He said that his group would investigate the shooting, but has not provided any further information on the matter. He previously said that music is forbidden in Islam, but that the group is hoping that they can persuade the people not to listen to it, instead of pressuring them to do so.
Following the execution, Afghanistan's former Interior Minister Masoud Andarabi wrote on Twitter, "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."
Music, enjoyment now banned under the Taliban
Under its previous rule, the Taliban banned all music, save for some religious chants. The Taliban previously destroyed all musical instruments, cassette tapes and CDs. Singing was also forbidden, and captive songbirds that were often found in marketplaces were outlawed.
Having fun was punishable by death
, and what people may perceive as normal activities became criminal acts. Flying a kite or taking photographs, for instance, were not allowed. Even televisions were forbidden.
Today, radio and TV stations stopped broadcasting music, though it remains unclear whether the change in programming was a result of the Taliban edicts, or if it is an effort by the stations to avoid potential problems. (Related: Video shows the Taliban operating US-made Black Hawk military helicopter that Biden and the Pentagon handed over
Fears reignited in Afghanistan
The killing reignited old fears that the militant group will return to their violent and oppressive rule that toppled the Afghan government from 1996 to 2001. There have been reports of the Taliban pledging amnesty to all Afghans who worked with the U.S. and their allies, but citizens remain doubtful, fearing a return to execution-style policing of anyone who criticizes the government or doesn't follow Islamic law.
Afghans who decided not to flee the country, especially women, are wondering if their rights, which they previously fought hard for, would be stripped away once again.
Afghan singer, Aryana Sayeed, who was able to escape the Taliban with her fiancé
, said: "It is just really heartbreaking… right now I have shivers in my hands when I’m talking about it. They are hopeless, absolutely hopeless… And my heart just bleeds for them."
What's next for Afghanistan?
Women face an uncertain future
under the new Taliban rule. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said that the group will respect the rights of women and minorities "as per Afghan norms and Islamic values." However, there are still fears over women's freedom to work, dress, or leave their homes under Taliban rule.
Another cause of concern is that the country may once again be a training ground for terrorism, although Taliban officials insist that they will adhere to the U.S. amnesty deal and prevent any group from using the country's soil as a base for attacks against the U.S. and its allies.
They indicated that they aim only to implement an Islamic government, and will not pose a threat to other countries, but analysts say that the Taliban and al-Qaeda remain inseparable, with the latter's fighters heavily engaged in training activities.
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