The sound of silence - in pictures

Under Taliban rule the once-thriving Afghan music scene is going quiet

Taliban allies guard music institute

Fighters from the Haqqani network – an ally of the Taliban considered a terrorist group by the United States – today stand guard inside the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul.

Music is starting to fade

A musician poses with his dilruba in Kabul. A month after the Taliban seized power, Afghanistan's music scene is starting to go quiet. The last time the militant group ruled the country, in the late 1990s, it banned music.

Instruments unplayed

Dairas, or tambourines, pile up in a shop in Kabul’s Old City.

Tradition under threat

An Afghan musician plays the harmonium in Kabul. Afghanistan has a strong musical tradition, influenced by Iranian and Indian classical music.

Going under cover

A red cloth covers a grand piano in a hookah bar in Kabul. Many musicians are now applying for visas abroad.

Musicians in hiding

An Afghan singer looks out of a window in Kabul. Many are in hiding with their instruments.

Broken instruments, broken dreams

Afghan luthier Mohammad Ibrahim Afzali, 61, holds a bucket with pieces of a broken harmonium inside his workshop in Kabul. In mid-August he put away his tools, broke his instruments and closed down. Now he sells chips and snacks to help feed his family of 13.

Fleeing Afghanistan

Two men remove a TV from an empty clothing shop in Kabul owned by Afghan pop star Aryana Sayeed. Ms Sayeed left Afghanistan the day the Taliban took over Kabul.

Closed for business

This karaoke hall in Kabul has closed. Others that remain open are regularly visited by Taliban members who tear down posters and tell customers to leave.

Updated: September 28th 2021, 1:52 PM
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