Taliban bans all public music in Afghanistan

As the United States of America withdrew from Afghanistan, the Taliban gained complete control over the nation, rules, and societal norms.

A spokesperson for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, who is likely to be known as a key figure in the nation’s Minister of Information and Culture, has stated that “music is forbidden in Islam” adding, “but we’re hoping that we can persuade people not to do such things, instead of pressuring them.”  This stance on music was held and practiced the last time the Taliban was in control from 1996-2001.

Proclamations as such have already resulted in musically-inclined cultural institutions taking a far more defensive approach to this new ruling. The Afghanistan National Institute of Music, which was founded in 2010, has closed its doors since the change, as students and educators fear harsh punishment simply for continuing to pursue music education.

While this is sad news for musicians and music lovers alike, the Taliban has noted that there are some small allowances such as the public use of religious music.  Since the regain of power, Afghan TV and radio stations have switched to only exclusively play Islamic songs.

It is important to note that when the group ascended to power in 1996, musical instruments were destroyed as well as cassette tapes in a blatant attempt to suppress the art form. Musicians have been a historically persecuted group during Taliban rule, which has now resulted in forcing musicians into hiding.

Image Credit: AFP/Getty Images