Portugal grants asylum to Afghanistan National Institute of Music students, staff, relatives

Posted on: December 14, 2021

A young man disembarks from the plane in which students, faculty, and their families from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music arrived on Dec. 13 in Portugal. AP Photo/Armando Franca

“Students and faculty members from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music arrived with their families Monday in Portugal, where they are being granted asylum and where they hope to rebuild their acclaimed school,” writes Barry Hatton in Tuesday’s (12/14) Associated Press. “The 273-person group, including some 150 students, flew into Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, from Doha, Qatar. Their departure from Afghanistan was staggered in five airlifts … ‘The arrival of the (institute’s) community today means that the first and most important step of saving lives and insuring freedom is now over,’ said the institute’s founder and director, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast. Governments and corporate and private donors met the group’s evacuation and resettlement expenses…. The musicians are among tens of thousands of Afghans … who have fled since Taliban fighters seized Afghanistan in August … Many musicians fear for their futures under the Taliban, which rules according to a harsh interpretation of Islamic law. The Afghanistan National Institute of Music, founded in 2010 … became a symbol of a new Afghanistan, with boys and girls studying together and performing to full houses in the United States and Europe…. The plan is to recreate the school in Portugal, allowing the students to continue their educations.”