Arts & Entertainment

Burgeoning Afghan music industry crumbles under Taliban rule

Kabul, Nov 9 (EFE).- Musicians in Afghanistan are in hiding or have left the profession, many have even fled the country, while musical instruments shops remain shut over fears of attacks since the Taliban seized power on Aug.15.

The Islamists had banned music, based on their strict interpretation of Islam, during their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001.

On this occasion, although it has not been officially declared illegal so far, incidents against music and musicians continue on the streets.

In the heart of Kabul lies Shor Bazar, or “Noisy Market,” an old commercial hub that until recently had become the center of both traditional and modern music, at least until the Taliban marched into the city.

Now, almost three months after fundamentalists overthrew Ashraf Ghani’s government, the melodious tunes from the music shops and academies that had flourished over the last two decades in Shor Bazar have suddenly fallen silent.

“The music industry witnessed its best moments in the last two decades with traditional and modern music thriving, and the number of singers and musicians growing,” Abdul Rahman Mansoori, a popular singer, told EFE.

Mansoori claimed he was able to earn between $350-$550 a month that helped support his family of seven.

However, the arrival of the Taliban has severely hampered his income, as well as that of thousands of other musicians across the country.

“Music is our profession and we have spent our entire life in the industry. Now that it has been destroyed, we don’t know how to feed our children,” he said.

“We face an uncertain future,” stressed Mansoori, sitting in one of Shor Bazar’s abandoned offices along with other musicians in a similar plight.

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