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Half-a-Month into New Afghanistan, and People are Dying. How? By Singing, Protesting, Existing as Women

By: Rounak Kumar Gunjan


Last Updated: September 01, 2021, 12:15 IST

Representational photo. (Image: AFP)

Representational photo. (Image: AFP)

News18 has collated Taliban's targets categorised by their professions, thus mapping the militant organisation's boundaries of conservatism.

Taliban may have positioned itself as a more liberal edition of its past but its actions are far from it. In little over two weeks since it took over Kabul, the militant organisation has tortured and killed artists, activists and women.

News18 has collated Taliban’s targets categorised by their professions, thus mapping the militant organisation’s boundaries of conservatism.

Folk Singer

Last Friday, a Taliban fighter shot dead an Afghan folk singer in a restive mountain province under unclear circumstances.

The shooting came in the Andarabi Valley for which he was named, an area of Baghlan province, some 100 km north of Kabul. The Valley had seen upheaval since the Taliban takeover, with some districts in the area coming under the control of militia opposed to the Taliban rule.

The Taliban previously came out to Andarabi’s home and searched it, even drinking tea with the musician, his son Jawad Andarabi said. But something changed on Friday.

“He was innocent, a singer who only was entertaining people,” his son told AP. “They shot him in the head on the farm.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the insurgents would investigate the incident, but had no other details on the killing.

Andarabi played the ghichak, a bowed lute, and sang traditional songs about his birthplace, people and Afghanistan as a whole. A video online showed him at one performance, sitting on a rug with the mountains of home surrounding him.

“There is no country in the world like my homeland, a proud nation,” he sang. “Our beautiful valley, our great-grandparents’ homeland."


Last monht, Taliban said they had killed an Afghan police officer, better known for posting humourous videos online, after clips emerged on social media showing him being beaten and his dead body.

Fazal Mohammad, popularly referred to as “Khasha Zwan", was stationed in southern Kandahar province but was taken away by the Taliban after returning home about two weeks ago.

Viral videos emerged showing Mohammad, his hands tied behind his back and sitting between two men in a car, being slapped repeatedly. Another clip purported to show his dead body.

“He was not a comedian, he fought against us in several battles. He had tried to flee when we detained him, prompting our gunmen to kill him," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

“He was an active policeman and responsible for deaths of many people," he told AFP.

Police commander Sailab, who has one name like many Afghans and who worked with Mohammad, said the comic was never deployed in combat and was more of an entertainer for the checkpoint’s officers.

The militants initially denied they had anything to do with his murder, until the videos went viral.


At least two people were killed last month when the Taliban fired on a crowd in Asadabad in the eastern province of Kunar, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

In Kabul, a crowd of men and women shouted, “Our flag, our identity”, and waved red and green national flags, a video posted on social media showed, on the day Afghanistan celebrates independence from British control in 1919.

Marchers chanted “God is greatest”. At some protests elsewhere, media reported people tearing down the white flag of the Taliban.

The report by Al Jazeera said the Taliban was “shooting at people … there was a heavy volley of gunfire for about a minute straight”.


According to a report by The Sun, Taliban extremists shot dead a woman in the village of Samar Qandian, for wearing clothes that were hugging her body and moving in public without a male figure accompanying her.

Police spokesman Adil Shah Adil told Radio Azadi the victim was named Nazanin and that she was 21 years old.

The woman was attacked after she left her house and was about to board a vehicle to travel to Balkh’s capital Mazar-e Sharif.

Balkh is a war torn region in the north, where the Taliban have been active in several areas.

But the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied the group had carried out the attack.


A report by Reuters narrated the plight of an Afghan hip-hop dancer who saw little chance of escape and feared he will be killed by the Taliban.

“Hip-hop is western culture… It’s American. They hate it," said the 27-year-old teacher and choreographer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

“Twenty years ago if a person was caught active in this kind of scene they would either be beheaded or shot dead," he told Reuters via video call, referring to the first time the Taliban held power in Afghanistan in 1996-2001.

With a crew of fellow dancers, including two women, he has taught street dance and performed at shows across Afghanistan and in India.

But under the Taliban, which banned the playing of musical instruments during its first time in power, such dancing will almost certainly be outlawed.

He hopes to get to Spain, where his brother lives. The rest of his dance crew have left the country but he has been unable to secure safe passage.

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first published:September 01, 2021, 11:48 IST
last updated:September 01, 2021, 12:15 IST
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