Afghan musicians mourn deserted devices after Taliban takeover

Viola participant Bahar was practising at her music school within the Afghan capital, when information broke that the Taliban had reached the town.

Terrified of a return to the times when music was forbidden and girls had been banned from training, she and her classmates rushed home, abandoning their beloved devices.

“We all ran away. We saved ourselves, leaving the instruments at the institute,” Bahar tells AFP, utilizing a false title to guard her id for fear of reprisal.

Read extra: In Tajikistan, Afghan exiles fear for family members left behind

“I felt like I had lost a family member.”

The Taliban, who banned music outright throughout their brutal and oppressive rule from 1996 to 2001, swept again into energy on August 15.

They have promised a extra average model of rule this time — although they’ve made clear that they’ll run Afghanistan inside the restrictive limits of their interpretation of Sharia legislation.

After racing home from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), Bahar was devastated to study that Taliban militants had occupied the campus, turning its lecture rooms into dormitories.

“I feel like I am no longer living. Physically, I am alive, but the Taliban have taken away my soul,” she says, breaking down in tears.

Read: ‘Just shoot me’: Afghan star remembers surreal Kabul escape

Abandoned devices

Bahar was launched to the school when she was 12 years outdated, and he or she says the viola rapidly turned her “best friend”.

“Music is food for the soul,” she says, including that she has carried out in India, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Azerbaijan.

“I feel extremely peaceful when I play the viola, especially when we play together in the girls’ orchestra,” she provides.

Also learn: Afghanistan’s media enters the unknown beneath Taliban rule

During a go to by AFP to the school, no music may be heard in its corridors — all that may be heard is the chatter and squabbling of Taliban troopers.

Armed guards cradle Kalashnikovs within the courtyard, shaded by timber with swirling treble clefs spray-painted on to their trunks.

A mural depicting a burst of multi-coloured musical symbols stand out in opposition to the large armoured door and a close-by guard submit.

A Taliban guard exhibits AFP a storeroom filled with intact musical devices that had been left behind, after reviews that the whole lot had been trashed.

The caretaker says the group’s leaders had ordered him to guard the devices.

Trumpets, saxophones and flutes are stacked on cabinets, reverse violins and violas in circumstances, whereas dozens of Afghan tabla drums occupy one other storage unit.

Propped up on a bespoke rack within the centre of the storeroom are a couple of dozen conventional devices: lute-like tamboors and single-stringed rubabs.

Abandoned follow rooms are every furnished with a keyboard or piano.

A workshop stays in the identical state as when it was hurriedly vacated in mid-August — violins are lined up ready for brand spanking new strings, a cello lays mid-repair and instruments are scattered round an electrical keyboard.

A secret guitar

Speaking to AFP in Kabul, 28-year-old guitarist Awa says his room was stacked with musical devices.

But fearing the Taliban, he has now destroyed almost all traces of his musical profession — aside from one favorite guitar that he has hidden away.

The Kabul University graduate and tutor on the ANIM has stopped posting to his YouTube channel the place he used to add classes, and not replies to feedback on his social media accounts.

He has carried out with a few of Afghanistan’s high music stars, however he now worries for his household’s security.

“It’s natural that if you were involved in music in Afghanistan you would be afraid. Sooner or later the Taliban will come after musicians,” says Awa, additionally utilizing a pseudonym to guard his id.

“Since they arrived, life has been hell. We had big dreams, but now our ambitions don’t exist anymore.”

ANIM’s founder Ahmad Sarmast, who now lives in Australia, says he fears for the way forward for Afghan music.

Since the takeover, he has written to the Taliban’s leaders to plead for entry to music — particularly for youngsters.

“I hope they will allow us to continue to do our work for the best interests of the Afghan people,” he says.

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