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Taliban Accused Of Slaying Afghan Folk Singer

There are fears the Taliban will return Afghanistan to the repressive rule it imposed when last in power from 1996-2001. 

The family of an Afghan folk singer and musician says he has been shot dead by a Taliban fighter in a mountain province north of Kabul.

The alleged slaying of Fawad Andarabi comes amid growing concerns that the hard-line Islamist group will return war-torn Afghanistan to the repressive rule it imposed when last in power from 1996-2001.

“Fawad Andarabi, a local artist, was dragged out of his home yesterday and killed by the Taliban in Kishnabad village of Andarab [district]. He was a famous folk singer in the valley. His son has confirmed the incident,” Afghan journalist Sami Mahdi tweeted on August 28.

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

The son said that a local Taliban council promised to punish his father's killer.

AP quoted a Taliban spokesman as saying that the militants will investigate the matter.

The Andarab Valley is located in Baghlan Province, some 100 kilometers north of Kabul.

The neighboring Panjshir remains the only Afghan province not under the control of the Taliban after its blitz offensive toppled the Western-backed government.

Karima Bennoune, the United Nations special rapporteur on cultural rights, wrote on Twitter that she had “grave concern” over the reports of Andarabi's killing.

“We call on governments to demand the Taliban respect the #humanrights of #artists,” she said.

Agnes Callamard, the secretary-general of Amnesty International, also decried the killing, saying on Twitter: “There is mounting evidence that the Taliban of 2021 is the same as the intolerant, violent, repressive Taliban of 2001. 20 years later. Nothing has changed on that front.”

Along with his tweet, Mahdi posted a video showing Andarabi singing and playing the ghichak, a bowed lute.

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

With reporting by AP
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