Under the Taliban, we weren't allowed to listen to music, he said.
Oh, I replied.
If we were found listening to a song, there was a special punishment, he explained.
What was it? I asked.
The Taliban would would unravel the offending person's music cassette ribbon and wrap it around his neck and then cover his face with black ash. Then they would tie the person sitting backwards on a donkey. They would hand out potatoes to all the children and encourage them to pelt him with the potatoes. The donkey would be led through the city for several hours with a loud speaker that cried out, "This is the punishment for those who listen to music! And after that, the person would be locked up in jail. "
Oh, how terrible, I said. And how sad to live without music.
Shall we go to the Winter Festival tonight in Kabul? They're playing a concert, he explained.
I think we should. Yes, I definitely think we should, I said.
Thankfully, the Taliban weren't invited.
Note: These same Afghanistan National Institute of Music students are about to tour the US (including Carnegie Hall!)! Read about it here. AMAZING.