Afghan folk singer Fawad Andarabi has been killed by the Taliban following a country-wide ban on music, according to multiple sources — including those from Andarabi’s family.
The music industry is increasingly global, though Afghanistan is suddenly crossed off of the ’emerging markets’ list. Just last week, Digital Music News first reported that the Taliban was quickly moving to ban music in public places across Afghanistan. That now appears to be part of a broader crackdown on music in the country.
Initially, the Taliban’s music ban only impacted public spaces, and musicians themselves seemed safe from persecution. However, just days later, that assumption is no longer safe following the unexpected killing of Afghan folk singer Fawad Andarabi. According to the singer’s family, Andarabi was initially assured of his safety by members of the Taliban. Days later, he was dragged from his home and shot by members of the same party.
“He was innocent, a singer who only was entertaining people,” Fawad Andarabi’s son, Jawal Andarabi, told the AP. “They shot him in the head on the farm.”
“Taliban’s brutality continues in Andarab,” Afghanistan’s former interior minister Masoud Andarabi wrote on Saturday. “Today, they brutally killed folkloric singer, Fawad Andarabi, who simply was bringing joy to this valley and its people. As he sang here, ‘our beautiful valley….land of our forefathers…’ [we] will not submit to Taliban’s brutality.”
The incident apparently occurred in the Andarabi Valley, for which the singer takes his namesake, roughly 50-60 miles north of Kabul. Separate reports point to the murder happening in the Panjshir Valley, which is similarly situated north of Kabul. Andarabi was reportedly dragged from his home before being executed.
It’s unclear if a violation of the newly-created Taliban rule on music occurred.
Andarabi enjoyed playing outside to entertain audiences, according to the musician’s son and performance footage on the web. Among other instruments, Andarabi played the ghaychak, a bowed lute common in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.
“There is mounting evidence that the Taliban of 2021 is the same as the intolerant, violent, repressive Taliban of 2001,” decried Agnes Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International. “20 years later. Nothing has changed on that front.”
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said he was not aware of the killing, though he would look into the matter. Previously, Mujahid confirmed the nationwide ban on music to The New York Times, remarking that music was ‘un-Islamic.’