According to The Associated Press, an Afghan folk singer was killed by a Taliban fighter in a restive mountain province under mysterious circumstances, his relatives claimed on Sunday. The death fueled campaigners’ fears that the insurgents will return to their 20-year-old tyrannical rule in the country after overthrowing the government.
Singer Fawad Andarabi was killed as the United States nears the end of a historic airlift that has evacuated thousands from Kabul’s international airport, where anarchy has reigned since the Taliban took over the Afghan capital two weeks ago.
Following a suicide bombing by an Islamic State affiliate that murdered over 180 people, the Taliban boosted security around the airstrip as Britain suspended evacuation flights on Saturday.
US military cargo flights resumed transporting passengers from the airport on Sunday, as President Joe Biden’s earlier deadline to remove all soldiers from America’s longest conflict approaches.
The folk singer was shot on Friday in the Andarabi Valley, which bears his name and is located in Baghlan province some 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Kabul. Since the Taliban’s takeover, the valley has undergone turbulence, with several areas falling under the authority of anti-Taliban militia fighters. The Taliban claim to have retaken those districts, while adjacent Panjshir in the Hindu Kush mountains remains the only one of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces that is not under their control.
“He was naive and solely interested in entertaining others,” says Son.
The Taliban had previously come to Andarabi’s home and searched it, even drinking tea with the singer, according to his son Jawad Andarabi. But on Friday, something shifted.
“He was a singer who merely wanted to amuse people,” his son remarked. “On the farm, they shot him in the head.”
His son stated that he desired justice and that a local Taliban council had pledged to punish his father’s assailant. The Taliban’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told the Associated Press that the insurgents will investigate the event, but he had no further information on the killing.
Andarabi sung traditional songs about his birthplace, his people, and Afghanistan as a nation while playing the ghichak, a bowed lute. A video of him performing online showed him sitting on a rug with the mountains of his home surrounding him as he sang.
He sang, “There is no country in the world like my homeland, a proud nation.” “Our magnificent valley, the homestead of our great-grandparents.”
Artists’ human rights
Karima Bennoune, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, expressed “grave concern” about Andarabi’s death on Twitter.
“We appeal on governments to demand that the Taliban respect #artists’ #humanrights,” she added.
Amnesty International’s secretary-general, Agnes Callamard, also condemned the killing.
“There is accumulating evidence that the Taliban of 2021 is the same as the Taliban of 2001: bigoted, aggressive, and repressive,” she wrote on Twitter. “Twenty years later. On that front, nothing has changed.