Musician Weeps as Taliban Fighters Burn His Instruments in Public

Footage shows Taliban fighters burning the drums and harmonium of a local musician, and making him say “I am scum” before a large crowd.
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The man was forced to watch as his livelihood was set ablaze. PHOTO: TWITTER

The Taliban forced a local musician to watch as they burned his instruments and mocked him before a large crowd.

The video shows the musician shedding tears while watching his harmonium and drum burn as Taliban soldiers preach to a crowd.

He appears to have been mauled by the Taliban soldiers as the arms and back of his coat have been badly torn.

The footage was recorded in Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan, and went viral after being posted on social media on Saturday.

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In Afghanistan, local bands are mainly made up of a singer playing the harmonium, and drummers, and perform primarily for weddings and birthday parties. They were banned during the first round of Taliban rule, from 1996 to 2001 but still, they made a rapid comeback and their business thrived after the Taliban was deposed.  

The Islamist hardliners were known for their hatred of music during their first rule in the late 1990s when Kabul was strewn with film from banned cassette tapes as a warning. Still, a few musicians continued to play secretly, but they were harshly punished.

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A girl holds shredded video cassettes left behind at a police station by retreating Taliban soldiers in 2001. PHOTO: AP Photo/Amir Shah

In the video, the Islamists can be heard preaching to the crowd and pointing at the musician staring at his instruments being destroyed. 

The first Taliban soldier can be heard saying: “What is the person who plays an instrument, and what should be their fate?” he asks the people gathered around. 

A second Talib starts to insult the musician and asks the weeping man to repeat after him 10 times: “I won’t do this work ever again, and I’m a pimp,” and the crowd laughs. 

“Look, now it is burning; what is this? It is just the skin of an animal. This is a disgrace. May God forgive us,” another Taliban soldier says. The crowd, including the musician, can be heard saying “Amen.” 

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The Taliban soldier adds: “Now the people in the area should know that this will happen to those who play the drums and other instruments.” 

He then tells the musician to say: “I am a scum, may God damn me.”

“Everyone [musician] should know this will be their end,” the musician murmurs at the end of the video.

The group’s fresh crackdown on local musicians will force many people to leave the profession, or work underground and risk being caught by the Taliban. 

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Wedding bands have urged the Taliban to reverse the ban. PHOTO: Sardar Shafaq/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The group says almost every musical instrument is sinful and that any non-religious singing, and music goes against its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Taliban rule also severely limits the role women can play in public life. 

A series of women-led protests broke out in Kabul on Sunday after a woman was shot at a checkpoint in the capital city last week after getting into an argument. The Taliban dispersed the protesters using teargas. 

In another move against women, the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice issued religious guidelines telling Afghan television stations to stop showing women in dramas.