Taliban kills Afghan folk singer in restive province

August 29, 2021 10:13 pm | Updated 10:13 pm IST - KABUL, Afghanistan

A Taliban fighter shot dead an Afghan folk singer in a restive mountain province under unclear circumstances, his family said on Sunday. The killing reignited concerns among activists that the insurgents would return to their oppressive rule in the country after their military blitz toppled the government.

The shooting on Friday of the folk singer came in the Andarabi Valley for which he was named, an area of Baghlan province, some 100 km north of Kabul. The Valley had seen upheaval since the Taliban takeover, with some districts in the area coming under the control of militia opposed to the Taliban rule. The Taliban say they have since retaken those areas, though neighbouring Panjshir in the Hindu Kush mountains remains the only one of Afghanistan's 34 provinces not under its control.

The Taliban previously came out to Andarabi’s home and searched it, even drinking tea with the musician, his son Jawad Andarabi said. But something changed on Friday.

“He was innocent, a singer who only was entertaining people,” his son said. “They shot him in the head on the farm.”

His son said he wanted justice and that a local Taliban council promised to punish his father’s killer.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the insurgents would investigate the incident, but had no other details on the killing.

Andarabi played the ghichak, a bowed lute, and sang traditional songs about his birthplace, people and Afghanistan as a whole. A video online showed him at one performance, sitting on a rug with the mountains of home surrounding him.

“There is no country in the world like my homeland, a proud nation,” he sang. “Our beautiful valley, our great-grandparents' homeland."

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