KABUL (Reuters) – Soria Hussaini was not sure what would happen when she decided to perform the first Kabul street concert by a woman in recent memory.
The 20-year-old, whose family fled civil war in Afghanistan for Iran during the 1990s, worried about her safety. But nearly 50 people watched the unadvertised concert by Hussaini’s rock group, Azadi, in the city’s Kart-e-Char neighborhood in March, singing and clapping along with the music.
Concert - Bombings - Explosions - Abductions - Issues
“Some were against this concert, but we did not give up,” she said. “We are all scared of suicide bombings, explosions, abductions and other issues in this country.”
Hussaini’s concert was unusual both for its public setting and the positive response it received in a country where views on women and entertainment are often ultra-conservative.
Contrast - Video - Week - Media - Men
In sharp contrast, a video surfaced this week and was widely shared on social media showing men whipping a woman, purportedly a Taliban punishment for singing in public. It was not clear when the video was filmed, but it generated fierce online criticism of the Taliban.
Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the video. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he could not confirm the video depicted members of the group, and that it was investigating the incident.
Peace - Talks - United - States - Taliban
Intensifying peace talks between the United States and the Taliban have brought a focus on the place of women in Afghan society. Many say they fear greater freedoms won in recent years will be eroded under a settlement with the Islamists.
The Taliban banned women from playing music or appearing in public with their faces visible when in power from 1996 to 2001.
Symbol - Changes - Taliban - Zahra - Elham
One symbol of the changes since the Taliban were overthrown is 18-year-old Zahra Elham, who last month became the first woman to win the vote-in singing competition Afghan Star in the 14 years since local TV station Tolo...
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