Taliban Intensifies Clampdown On Tunes In Afghanistan

When the Taliban seized electricity in 2021, there had been issues that some of Afghanistan’s little non-Muslim minorities could vanish.

Two years on, individuals fears are turning out to be understood. Afghanistan’s past-known Jew fled the country shortly immediately after the Taliban takeover. Meanwhile, the Sikh and Hindu communities are thought to have shrunk to just a handful of people.

Below the Taliban, Sikhs and Hindus have confronted critical restrictions, which includes on their appearances, and have been banned from marking their religious vacations in community, leaving a lot of with no decision but to escape their homeland.

“I are unable to go wherever freely,” Fari Kaur, just one of the previous remaining Sikhs in the funds, Kabul, told RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi.

“When I go out, I am forced to costume like a Muslim so that I cannot be identified as a Sikh,” she explained, in reference to the Taliban’s buy that all ladies must use the all-encompassing burqa or niqab.

Kaur’s father was killed in a suicide assault focusing on Sikhs and Hindus in the japanese town of Jalalabad in 2018. The attack reportedly led as quite a few as 1,500 Sikhs to go away the region, together with Kaur’s mom and sisters.

A view of the site where an explosive-laden vehicle detonated amidst an attack on a Sikh Temple in Kabul on June 18, 2022.

A check out of the website the place an explosive-laden motor vehicle detonated amidst an attack on a Sikh Temple in Kabul on June 18, 2022.

But Kaur refused to go away and stayed in Kabul to fulfil her father’s aspiration that she finish faculty.

In March 2020, 25 worshipers had been killed when Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) militants stormed a Sikh temple in Kabul. Subsequent the attack, most of the remaining users of the minority still left Afghanistan.

Again, Kaur refused to depart. But now, additional than two yrs following the Taliban seized electric power, she mentioned the absence of spiritual liberty less than the militants has remaining her no option but to look for refuge overseas.

“We have not celebrated our essential festivals considering the fact that the Taliban returned to energy,” she said. “We have pretty several community members remaining at the rear of in Afghanistan. We are unable to even seem immediately after our temples.”

Background Of Persecution

There have been up to 100,000 Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan in the 1980s. But the war that broke out in 1979 and the onset of increasing persecution pushed quite a few out.

Throughout the civil war of the 1990s, the Taliban and rival Islamist groups pledged to safeguard minorities. But several Sikhs and Hindus misplaced their households and companies and fled to India.

Afghan Hindu and Sikh citizens celebrate their new year ceremony in Kabul in 2018.

Afghan Hindu and Sikh citizens rejoice their new calendar year ceremony in Kabul in 2018.

In the course of its very first stint in electrical power from 1996-2001, the Taliban caused an worldwide uproar after the militants announced that all Sikhs and Hindus in the region would be necessary to put on yellow badges.

The Taliban prohibited Sikhs and Hindus from making new temples. They have been also forced to spend a specific tax identified as jizya, which was historically imposed by Muslim rulers on their non-Muslim topics.

Subsequent the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, Sikhs and Hindus ended up granted the identical legal rights as other Afghans and also acquired seats in the parliament.

When the Taliban regained power in August 2021, it tried to assuage the fears of non-Muslim Afghans. The militants frequented Sikh and Hindu temples to check out and assure the remaining customers of the communities of their motivation to their security and well-getting.

But the Taliban’s draconian limitations on Sikhs and Hindus have pressured many to request a way out of their homeland.

‘Extreme Desperation’

A lot of of the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who have left the country have moved to India, where by most facial area a lifetime of poverty.

“We abandoned our place out of extreme desperation,” mentioned Chabul Singh, a 57-year-old Sikh man who remaining Afghanistan with his wife and two sons numerous several years in the past.

The loved ones now life outside the house the Indian funds, New Delhi, where by Singh and his youthful sons eke out a living by accomplishing menial careers.

Firefighters work at the site of a deadly suicide attack in Jalalabad in 2018. A suicide bomber targeted a group of Sikhs and Hindus, killing at least 19 people.

Firefighters perform at the web page of a deadly suicide attack in Jalalabad in 2018. A suicide bomber focused a team of Sikhs and Hindus, killing at the very least 19 persons.

“In Afghanistan, our exclusive turbans gave us absent, and we ended up killed both of those by the Taliban and Daesh,” he explained to Radio Azadi, referring to IS-K by its Arabic acronym. Sikhs often wrap their hair, which they are not intended to cut, in a turban.

Irrespective of his family’s struggles in India, Singh mentioned returning to Afghanistan is not an option.

“In Afghanistan, our Muslim brothers often asked us, ‘Why have you come from India?'” he mentioned. “But listed here in India, they talk to us, ‘Why never you go back to Afghanistan?'”

Niala Mohammad, the director of plan and strategy at the nonprofit Muslim Community Affairs Council in Washington, claimed the predicament for religious minorities in Afghanistan — such as Hindus, Sikhs, Bahai’s, Christians, Ahmadis, and Shi’ite Muslims — has deteriorated sharply underneath Taliban rule.

“The predicament carries on to deteriorate as political extremist factions that declare to stand for Islam, this kind of as the Taliban, ascend to power in the location,” said Mohammad, who was previously the South Asia analyst for the U.S. Commission on International Spiritual Flexibility. “This exodus of assorted religious groups has remaining a void in the country’s social fabric.”