Photo: Social media

Campaign launched for release of local singer held by Taliban

The founder of Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), Ahmad Naser Sarmast, has launched a Twitter campaign to call for the immediate release of Musa Shahin, a local singer from Panjshir province. Shahin was detained by the Taliban from his home in February in Kabul.

He is a local singer from the northeastern Panjshir province and was arrested by the Taliban on February 04 in Kabul for a second time.

“I call on the international community, music and human rights advocacy groups to raise their voice for an immediate release of Afghan singer Musa Shahin arrested and brutally tortured by the Taliban. He is sick with no access to medical assistance,” Sarmast tweeted on Friday.

In an interview with KabulNow on February 21, relatives of the local singer said that their attempts to obtain information about Shahin’s situation and whereabouts have been unsuccessful. “I have been told that Musa Shahin has been repeatedly tortured and his screams have been heard many times,” Shahin’s brother said.

This is the second time in 19 months that Shahin has been arrested by the Taliban. He was first arrested in 2022 at the Islam-Qala border while trying to leave the country for Iran. He was released after a month, only to be arrested again on February 4, this time from his home in Kabul. There has been no update on his status since then.

After returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban has been widely accused of arbitrary arrests of dozens of activists, singers and former government officials. The group, however, regularly denied claims of carrying out arbitrary arrests.