KABUL – In a display of their strict interpretation of Islam, Taliban authorities in western Herat province set fire to a collection of musical instruments and equipment over the weekend, claiming that music encourages immorality.
Aziz al-Rahman al-Muhajir, the head of the Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the province, voiced his belief that music leads to moral corruption and misguides the youth.
This incident is emblematic of the Taliban’s unwavering imposition of their ideology since they regained power in August 2021, which includes a complete ban on playing music in public spaces. Among the instruments burned were a guitar, a harmonium, two other stringed instruments, and a tabla (drums), many of which were confiscated from wedding halls known for hosting musical performances.
However, the Taliban’s impact reaches beyond music, with women bearing a significant burden under the new laws. They face severe restrictions on their daily lives, such as being excluded from most educational institutions, universities, and public administration, limiting their societal participation. Furthermore, women are prohibited from working for international organizations, accessing public parks, gardens, gyms, and even bathrooms without a male relative accompanying them. They are also required to be fully covered when outside their homes.
As a result of a recent decree, numerous beauty salons owned by women, often serving as their primary source of income, were forced to close down, highlighting the erosion of women’s rights and livelihood under the current regime. The situation continues to raise concerns about human rights and gender equality in Afghanistan.