Afghan musicians escape their home country, fearing Taliban will restrict nonreligious music

Posted on: October 4, 2021

Students, teachers, and musicians affiliated with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music flew out of Kabul on Sunday. Photo: Afghanistan National Institute of Music

“More than 100 young artists, teachers and their relatives affiliated with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, a celebrated school that became a target of the Taliban in part for its efforts to promote the education of girls, fled the country on Sunday, the school’s leaders said,” writes Javier Hernandez in Sunday’s (10/3) New York Times. “The musicians, many of whom have been trying to leave for more than a month, boarded a flight from Kabul’s main airport and arrived in Doha, the capital of Qatar, around midday Eastern time, according to Ahmad Naser Sarmast, the head of the school, who is currently in Australia. In the coming days, they plan to resettle in Portugal, where the government has agreed to grant them visas…. Hundreds of the school’s students, staff and alumni remain in Afghanistan and face an uncertain future amid signs that the Taliban will move to restrict nonreligious music…. The musicians join a growing number of Afghans who have fled the country since August [including] members of a female soccer team who resettled in Portugal and Italy…. Several students and young artists affiliated with the music institute said … that they had been staying inside their homes, for fear of being attacked or punished by the Taliban.”