JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Here, a lawyer in Kabul offers his observations and perspective on recent Taliban restrictions on music in public places. For privacy and security reasons we are withholding our correspondent’s name and institutional affiliation. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
The Taliban have banned live music in hotels. Officials of Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice – which was established by the Taliban after the took control of Afghanistan – met with most of hotel owners in Kabul Wednesday.
In this meeting, the Taliban instructed the hotel owners to avoid live music, and segregate places of men and women in the hotels. They already did this in some other provinces as well. In Takhar they even beat up a groom because he brought live music to his wedding ceremony.
In Afghanistan, hotels and restaurants are regulated by the specific laws and regulations under authority of the Ministry of Information and Culture. They obtain licenses from this Ministry and the Government uses this Ministry to communicate with them. The Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice – as you understand from its name – will now establish policies for each and every government agency through which they will tell people what is right and what is wrong.
Previously, women and men were separated but only by a partition made of plastic or other stuff, but they have now made it clear that hotel owners have to separate them by walls. This indicates that they still hold the opinion of prohibiting music in the country. I actually think that this is a starting point for them to slowly ban music. In other statements, one of the Taliban’s top leaders has told the media that if singers stop singing he will give them an amount of 40K AFN on a monthly basis. These statements are clearly a sign that there will be no musicians in the country, and those who choose to stay will have to change their profession and seek another source of income.