JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Taliban fighters beat musicians, shaved their heads and left them tied to trees overnight because they performed at an Afghan wedding, a village tribal chief said on Monday, a sign of the fighters’ growing influence.
While in power from 1996-2001, the Taliban banned music as un-Islamic.
The militants have returned to areas in the east and south of the country, where violence has sharply spiked in recent years. They attack government officials, Afghan police, foreign troops and schools that teach girls, another practice they forbid.
“A party was going on when a group of Taliban grabbed five musicians and started beating them and smashing their musical instruments,” said Rahmatullah Khan, a head of Merke Khel village in the east of the country.
“The musicians were tied up with rope to trees last night and villagers found them in the morning when going out for prayers,” Khan said.
Khan said Taliban fighters shaved the heads of the musicians and made them take oaths in the presence of villagers that they would not sing or play music at weddings again.
Afghan weddings and engagement parties in rural areas are traditionally celebrated with hundreds of guests, music and singing that often continues until late at night.