KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban fighter shot dead an Afghan folk singer in a restive mountain province under unclear circumstances, his family says. The killing reignited concerns among activists that the insurgents will return to their oppressive rule in the country after their military blitz toppled the government.
The slaying of Fawad Andarabi comes as the United States winds down a historic airlift that saw tens of thousands evacuated from Kabul’s international airport, the scene of much of the chaos that engulfed the Afghan capital since the Taliban took over two weeks ago. After an Islamic State affiliate’s suicide attack that killed over 180 people, the Taliban increased its security around the airfield as Britain ended its evacuation flights Saturday.
US military cargo planes continue their runs into the airport today, ahead of a Tuesday deadline earlier set by US President Joe Biden to withdraw all troops from America’s longest war.
The shooting Friday of the folk singer came in the Andarabi Valley for which he was named, an area of Baghlan province some 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Kabul. The valley had seen upheaval since the Taliban takeover, with some districts in the area coming under the control of militia fighters opposed to the Taliban rule. The Taliban say they have since retaken those areas, though neighboring Panjshir in the Hindu Kush mountains remains the only one of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces not under its control.
— BILAL SARWARY (@bsarwary) August 28, 2021
The Taliban previously came out to Andarabi’s home and searched it, even drinking tea with the musician, his son Jawad Andarabi tells The Associated Press. But something changed Friday.
“He was innocent, a singer who only was entertaining people,” his son says. “They shot him in the head on the farm.”
His son says he wants justice and that a local Taliban council promised to punish his father’s killer.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tells the AP that the insurgents would investigate the incident, but has no other details on the killing.