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Afghan artists bury artwork, books fearing Taliban action: Report

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Various artists have destroyed his paintings or sculptures. (file)

Kabul:

Inspired by Taliban nostalgia, Afghan artists are finding it difficult to practice their art as the organization opposes the idea of ​​Westernization in the conflict-torn country.

According to the Media International media outlet, 15 paintings depicting women in their modern artwork have been buried in a compound days after several artists entered the capital city of Kabul.

Citing various similar examples, The Washington Post reported that a famous filmmaker stowed away a large hard drive containing more than 20 movies at a secret location before fleeing a war-ravaged country.

While a bookseller hid in his sidewalk shop every book the Taliban believed to be harmful, including two Bibles translated into Dari and Pashto.

“If Taliban fighters find out, they will punish me,” said the bookseller, The Washington Post reports.

The Western presence during the past 20 years ushered in the flowering of art, film, music and books, helping transform Kabul into a cosmopolitan metropolis. A new generation of artists were as much influenced by Afghan traditions and history as modern themes such as war, Western music, women’s rights and persecution under the Taliban.

Filmmaker Sahra Karimi said, “The kind of art that we believe has a value, it means that artists should be free to express their views, not under dictatorship or censorship. ” “Those artists would not be able to work as freely as before. And they were so free.”

The international media organization said that even though some artists take great risks to protect their creations, many have fled the country, while others are self-censoring to escape the Taliban’s wrath.

Various artists have destroyed his paintings or sculptures. Stores selling musical instruments have closed, as have many art galleries. In order not to anger the Taliban, wedding bands and singers have stopped working as many wedding halls cancel live music. Afghan filmmaking, for the time being, is dead.

“The Taliban has not issued a statement regarding the arts,” said Safiullah Habibi, director of Kabul’s Institute of Fine Arts, a government facility. “But artists are limiting themselves. They think the Taliban will repeat what happened in the 1990s. At that time, art had no place under their rule.”

Taliban deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi said the interim government was new and was still “building the framework” for all issues related to art and culture. But he added that whether a form of art was “allowed or prohibited” would be governed by Islamic law or Sharia.

Earlier this week, the Taliban’s Justice Ministry said the constitution from the era of King Zahir Shah would be implemented for an interim period. However, sources in Tolo News said that the decision is not final yet.

Older generations remember the ultra-conservative Islamic regime that saw regular stone-pelting, amputations and public executions during the Taliban regime before the US-led invasion following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Under the Taliban, which ruled according to a rigid interpretation of Islamic law, women were largely confined to their homes.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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