Days after drinking tea with the musician, the Taliban shot and killed folk singer Fawad Andarabi on Monday, declaring that “music is forbidden in Islam.” Taliban authorities had previously searched his home in the Andarabi Valley, for which he was named, before shooting the singer in the head on his farm.
The attack came just a week after Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The New York Times that although the new government wanted to forget the past and move forward, music would not be allowed to be performed in public under Islamic law. “We’re hoping that we can persuade people not to do such things, instead of pressuring them,” Mujahid explained.
In a scene reminiscent of the brutality of the Taliban’s rule from 1996 to 2001, however, singer Fawad Adarabi was executed without trial by Taliban fighters in the region. “He was innocent, a singer who only was entertaining people,” his son, Jawad, told the Associated Press. “They shot him in the head on the farm.”
Fawad Andarabi was well-known in the area for singing traditional songs while playing a kind of bowed lute called a ghichak. Afghanistan’s former interior minister, Masoud Andarabi – unrelated to the singer – shared a video of Fawad singing on Twitter, writing, “As he sang here ‘our beautiful valley….land of our forefathers’ [we] will not submit to Taliban’s brutality.”
“There is no country in the world like my homeland, a proud nation,” Fawad Andarabi sang. “Our beautiful valley, our great-grandparents’ homeland.”
The shooting took place in Andarab, which is roughly 60 miles north of Kabul. The Taliban have been in the area suppressing resistance fighters after seizing the capital, where they’ve had little difficulty.
Another well-known Andarabi man, athlete, and tailor Paiman, 22, was shot and killed at a checkpoint in Andarabi on the side of the road. Masoud Andarabi had shared the story on social media shortly after Fawad Andarabi’s.
“Taliban’s brutality Must Stop,” Masoud wrote. “His crime. Being Andarabi.”
Karima Bennoune, the United Nations special rapporteur on cultural rights, said that Fawad Andarabi’s killing was of “grave concern.”
According to the Associated Press, the Taliban had pledged amnesty to all Afghans who worked with the U.S. and their allies, but many Afghan citizens are still doubtful. They fear a return to execution-style policing of anyone who speaks ill of the government or doesn’t follow Islamic law.
“We call on governments to demand the Taliban respect the human rights of artists,” Bennoune tweeted.
Agnes Callamard, the secretary-general of Amnesty International, later echoed her call.
“There is mounting evidence that the Taliban of 2021 is the same as the intolerant, violent, repressive Taliban of 2001,” Callamard said. “Nothing has changed on that front.”
Speaking with The New York Times, Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that he rejected reports that the Taliban is exacting vengeance. He said that the Taliban hadn’t heard anything about Fawad Andarabi’s killing, but that they would be investigating the incident.
Despite messages from Mujahid, however, many Afghan citizens are fearful of Taliban rule. Those who have decided not to flee, especially women, are wondering if their hard-fought rights are going to be stripped away to the harsh conditions of when the Taliban ruled over 20 years ago.
Even those who are trying to evacuate the country have had a difficult time, as ISIS-K extremist groups send suicide bombers to the highly congested areas outside of the Kabul International Airport.
One Afghan singer, Aryana Sayeed, was able to escape the Taliban last week with her fiancé after she heard that Taliban soldiers were going door-to-door during the takeover.
“It is just really heartbreaking… right now I have shivers in my hands when I’m talking about it,” she told Access Hollywood after making it to Qatar and then to America. “They are hopeless, absolutely hopeless… And my heart just bleeds for them.”