Students and teachers of Afghanistan National Institute of Music arrive in Qatar, fleeing Taliban

Posted on: November 18, 2021

Afghanistan National Institute of Music leader Ahmad Naser Sarmast greets Institute students who have fled to Qatar, where they will be allowed to play music. Photo: Omar Nashat/RMG Productions

“The plane from Kabul touched down in Qatar around 6 p.m. on Tuesday,” writes Javier C. Hernández in Wednesday’s (11/17) New York Times. “Two 13-year-old musicians—Zohra and Farida, a trumpet player and a violinist—disembarked and ran toward their teacher…. The girls were among the last students affiliated with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music—a renowned school that has been a target of the Taliban in the past in part for its efforts to promote the education of girls—to be evacuated from Kabul since the Taliban regained power in August. They joined 270 students, teachers and their relatives who, fearing that the Taliban might seek to punish them for their ties to music, have made the journey from Kabul to Doha, the capital of Qatar…. Most arrived in the past week, boarding four special flights arranged by the government of Qatar…. They eventually plan to resettle in Portugal, where they expect to be granted asylum…. The musicians are among hundreds of artists … who have fled Afghanistan in recent weeks. Many have left because they worry about their safety and see no way of earning money as the arts come under government scrutiny.”