The Taliban Burned a Pile of Musical Instruments Because They’re ‘Immoral’

The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice set fire to guitars, harmonicas, and speakers in the western province of Herat.
taliban burn musical instruments
PHOTO: handout from Afghanistan’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice

The Taliban has publicly burned a pile of musical instruments as it intensifies its crackdown on music, which it considers un-Islamic. 

The Taliban’s Bakhtar news agency reported Sunday’s burning event in the western province of Herat, citing the Islamist group’s local leader, Aziz al-Rahman al-Muhajir, the head of the local authority of the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Herat. 


Muhajir said that the equipment, which included guitars, harmonicas, and speakers, were seized in a number of towns and other locations across the province before being set ablaze, and said anyone trading forbidden musical instruments will face harsh punishment by the group.

The crackdown is part of the Taliban's efforts to further enforce its strict interpretation of Sharia law. The Islamist group, which has been in charge of the country since August 2021, deems all music to be “haram”, except for a genre of militant songs known as “Nasheeds” – religious battle songs featuring auto-tuned poetry glorifying jihad and tales of war.

Women have already been practically banned from work, schools, and universities by the Taliban, further curbing their already limited rights. Last month, beauty salons across the country were also ordered to be shut down.

The Taliban’s media outlets put out photographs of the confiscated musical equipment being engulfed in flames.

Muhajir said that the burnt musical instruments induce “vanity among the youth and corruption in the society in Afghanistan.” The Taliban carried out another public burning of musical instruments in Kabul earlier this month.

Since the Taliban seized the country from the Western-backed government nearly two years ago, Afghanistan has suffered a serious economic downturn.  The international community severed ties with Afghanistan after warning it to avoid enforcing the strict religious policies that made the group a pariah during its first stint in power in the 1990s.