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date: 15 October 2019


  • John Baily


Country in Central Asia.

Musical life in Afghanistan has been severely disrupted by warfare since 1978. By the end of the 20th century the Taliban movement controlled 90% of the country, including all major cities. In the areas under Taliban control no musical instruments are permitted in public or private, and all forms of music save unaccompanied singing are prohibited. In other areas conditions are little better: most former professional musicians are refugees in Iran, Pakistan, Europe and North America. This article describes some aspects of music culture which are currently dormant, but no doubt music will re-emerge in due course, quite possibly not much changed.

Afghanistan is situated at the juncture of three major cultural areas: Central Asia, the Middle East and India. Each area has exercised a strong influence on Afghanistan at various points in history. In its ethnic origin, language and topography, Afghanistan is more clearly related to Central Asia and the Middle East than to India. The present-day boundaries of Afghanistan (fixed ...

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Asian Music