Kabul, Afghanistan – In one of Kabul’s high-end wedding venues, a celebration was in full swing around noon on Tuesday. Afghan dance music could be heard inside the hall.
According to reception hall manager Shadab Azimi, 26, at least seven nuptials have taken place sincetwo weeks earlier, the festivities having been moved to daylight due to security concerns.
The Taliban, who during their previous rule between 1996 and 2001 had banned most music except Islamic religious chants, did not announce a ban on live music, Azimi said. However, the wedding singers canceled on their own, fearing possible further restrictions from the Taliban.
He said that during the recent celebrations, the couples were playing recorded music. Azimi said business was down 80% in the past two weeks, likely due to feelings of uncertainty.
The director said Taliban patrols came several times a day, asking if he needed security assistance, but did not appear threatening. And unlike the ousted government security forces, the Taliban did not demand bribes, he said.
“Former officials, including police, were asking us for money and we were forced to host their friends for lunch and dinner,” he said.
Even before the Taliban takeover, marriages were traditionally separated in Afghanistan, with men and women celebrating in different spaces.