The ban mirrors the Taliban’s previous stance during their rule from 1996-2001.

In the wake of the United States’ ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan and the impending takeover of the nation by the Taliban, the country is experiencing a concerted cultural shock impacting nearly all aspects of daily life.

One Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, who Newsweek notes is a likely figure for the nation’s Minister of Information and Culture, has already indicated the public presence of music is going to be banned. 

“Music is forbidden in Islam,” Mujahid bluntly stated. “But we’re hoping that we can persuade people not to do such things, instead of pressuring them.” The regressive position was similarly held by the Taliban when they last ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.

Such proclamations have already resulted in musically-inclined cultural institutions taking far more defensive postures. Founded in 2010, the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, has closed its doors since the regime change as students fear harsh punishment simply for continuing to pursue music education. 

There are limited exceptions to the rules regarding music, one of which is the public presence of religious music. Since the Taliban’s return, Afghan TV and radio stations have changed their programming to only play Islamic songs exclusively.

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 is presently forcing many of them into hiding.


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