‘No policy to execute music lovers’: Taliban after killing two wedding guests

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Taliban fighters shot dead two wedding guests who were listening to music, local officials and a witness said on Saturday, forcing Afghanistan’s new government to insist such attacks are not authorised.

A relative of the victims said that Taliban fighters had opened fire while music was being played at a wedding in Sorkhrud, in Nangarhar province in the east of the country, killing two and wounding two more.

Music was banned the last time the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and, while the new government has not yet issued such a decree, its leadership still frowns on its use in entertainment and sees it as a breach of Islamic law. “The young men were playing music in a separate room and three Taliban fighters came and opened fire on them. The injuries of the two wounded are serious,” he told reporters.

Qazi Mullah Adel, spokesman for the Taliban governor in Nangarhar, confirmed the incident but did not provide further details. A security source said the two men who attacked the wedding are now in custody. In Kabul, government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he could not confirm the incident, but promised that it was not Taliban policy to execute music lovers.

“Investigations are continuing. So far, it’s not clear how it happened. Is it a personal matter or what? In the ranks of the Islamic Emirate no one has the right to turn anyone away from music or anything, only to try to persuade them. That is the main way. If anyone kills someone by himself, even if they are our personnel, that is a crime and we will introduce them to the courts and they will face the law,” he told a news conference.

The previous Taliban government between 1996 and 2001 imposed a very strict interpretation of Islamic law and harsh public punishments. But, since returning to power in mid-August after overthrowing the US-backed government the Taliban, seeking international recognition and an end to sanctions, has tried to show a more moderate face.

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