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Tags: Afghanistan | taliban | kabul | afghanistan | george floyd | murals | art

Taliban Paint Over Murals in Kabul With Victory Slogans

man paints over mural
A man paints over murals on a concrete wall along a street in Kabul on Sept. 4, 2021. (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 September 2021 11:32 AM

A protest mural in Kabul depicting the killing of George Floyd and BLM is being painted over with Taliban and Islamic artwork. Another portrait of a Japanese aid worker has been replaced with a slogan congratulating the Afghan nation for its victory.

"Taliban was and is an armed movement that only understands guns, violence, beating, beheading, suicide vests, and bombs. There is no vocabulary about art in the Taliban’s dictionary. They even cannot imagine art. I think they don’t understand it, that’s why they are destroying it," Omaid Sharifi, the co-founder of Artlords, said to The Guardian.

Sharifi co-founded ArtLords in 2014, using art to campaign for peace, social justice, and accountability in Afghanistan. The group often shamed warlords and corrupt government officials in Kabul with street art, calling for dialogue instead of violence, and demanding rights for Afghan women.

"These murals were against corruption and were pushing for transparency," Sharifi said. "Our aim was to promote critical thinking and put pressure on the government to accept people’s demands."

Another erased mural shows U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar shaking hands after signing the 2020 deal to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. It has been replaced with a black-and-white message that says don't trust the enemy's propaganda.

A mural at the former U.S. Embassy in Kabul has been covered with a huge painting of the Taliban flag.

Tens of thousands of Afghans rushed to the Kabul airport as the capital fell last month, fearful of life under the Taliban, among them artists and activists such as Sharifi. He is now living in the UAE. 

During the Taliban's first reign, from 1996 to 2001, there was no local media, and images of humans and animals were banned, The Daily Mail reported. Once again, the Taliban is stamping its austere messages on the capital city, and removing artwork critical of the government.

The Taliban believe in a strict interpretation of Islamic law. In the past, they banned television, music, and cinema, and disapproved of girls aged 10 and over attending school.

The Taliban also introduced or supported punishments in line with their strict interpretation of Sharia law, such as public executions of convicted murderers and adulterers, and amputations for theives, the BBC reported. Men have to grow beards, and women have to wear a burka.

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A protest mural in Kabul depicting the killing of George Floyd and BLM is being painted over with Taliban and Islamic artwork. Another portrait of a Japanese aid worker has been replaced with a slogan...
taliban, kabul, afghanistan, george floyd, murals, art
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2021-32-08
Wednesday, 08 September 2021 11:32 AM
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