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Afghan Déjà Vu

Afghan creative class under the Taliban

The situation in Afghanistan changed dramatically after the Taliban takeover in August 2021. The former government fled the country, as did many singers, athletes, and artists. As the country began to live under Sharia law, people who found it impossible fled or went into hiding. The RT Documentary team tracked down some of the participants in previous documentaries to ask them how it feels to be an alien to their own country?

Abbas Alizada, whose story was told in the Dragon of Afghanistan documentary, is called the Afghan Bruce Lee for his exceptional martial arts skills. He couldn't leave the country and now has to hide and change his appearance so the Taliban can't recognise him. He has difficulty finding time to practice, and he hopes to leave the country one day. Musicians are having just as hard a time. Under the Taliban, playing music was pronounced ungodly, and musicians were deemed sinners.

Nevertheless, Dr Sarmast, the subject of the Dangerous Music documentary, managed to flee the country and helped some of his students follow. So did Aryana Sayeed, the singer who escaped Afghanistan on a USAF plane the day after Kabul fell. She would have been killed by the Taliban for her art and especially for daring to practice it since she was a woman.

Learn more stories about the lives of Afghanistan's creative people before and after the Taliban in our documentary.