Under the Taliban, future of Kabul-based music school—and music itself—is unsure

Posted on: August 25, 2021

“The doors of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul are closed,” reports Elizabeth Blair on Saturday’s (8/21) National Public Radio. “The music school’s young students, teachers and faculty are staying home—they have reason to fear. According to founder and director Ahmad Sarmast, ‘armed people entered school property’ recently … and destroyed musical instruments. Under the Taliban in the 1990s, music was strictly forbidden … even listening to music at home could get you in trouble. Now ANIM’s future is uncertain. With the disorder caused by the Taliban’s takeover of the city, ‘the situation is very unpredictable,’ says Sarmast…. ANIM opened in Kabul in 2010…. Students learn to play instruments from both the Afghanistan and Western classical traditions. The school has been held up as a great success story in the effort to renew cultural life and the arts in Afghanistan…. While the Taliban have presented themselves to the media as less violent than they were in the 1990s, Sarmast is skeptical…. Sarmast … hopes the international community will ‘keep an eye’ to make sure the Taliban keep its promises … ‘to make sure that the musical rights of the Afghan people [are] not toppled again.’ ”