Pop star Aryana Sayeed flees Afghanistan on US flight as Taliban take charge

·3-min read
Aryana Sayeed flees Afghanistan on US Cargo jet with her husband (Aryana Sayeed/ Instagram)
Aryana Sayeed flees Afghanistan on US Cargo jet with her husband (Aryana Sayeed/ Instagram)

Afghan pop star Aryana Sayeed has fled Kabul with her husband on a US cargo jet as the Taliban took control and officially declared Afghanistan an “Islamic Emirate” on Thursday.

The 36-year-old singer and songwriter, who is also an Afghan national, penned a note to her fans on Instagram. She wrote: “I had said in one of my recent interviews that I will be the ‘Last Soldier to leave the Motherland’… and interestingly enough, that is exactly what happened.”

“I hope and pray as a result of the recent changes, at the very least my beautiful people will be able to start living a peaceful life without the fear of suicide bombers and explosions. My heart, my prayers, and my thoughts will always be with you!” The Voice star wrote.

The news of her departure comes as Fawzia Koofi, a women’s rights activist and former lawmaker, was quoted by NBC as saying, “women in Afghanistan are the most at danger or most at-risk population of the country.”

“My heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for your well-wishes and prayers who were concerned about my presence inside Afghanistan after so many others with lesser dangers/concerns had already left,” Sayeed wrote.

She also revealed that she had reached Doha and is now en route to Istanbul.

“After I get home and my mind and emotions return back to normal from a world of disbelief and shock, I have many stories to share with you My LOVE/S!!” she wrote.

Many industries are expected to be severely hit during Afghanistan’s transition of power. Afghan filmmaker Hassan Fazili, who once escaped from the Taliban, revealed that the cultural future of the nation is now “more uncertain than ever.”

He told ETimes : “Even if we just pray or hope that the common Afghanis won’t have to face any execution or arrest, there’s simply no denying that the culture, cultural aesthetics or movement will stop”.

“Filmmaking or performing art seems to be on the verge of destruction now,” he said. “They (Taliban) just want to destroy these cultural activities. It has been a taboo for them. For instance, the Taliban fails to accept that women too, can go outside and take part in social activities on their own.”

Almost seven years ago, the Taliban had declared a bounty on the filmmaker, which led him to escape his motherland.

Fazili made a documentary titled Peace in Afghanistan, profiled Taliban commander Mullah Tur Jan, who laid down arms in favour of a peaceful civilian life.

Soon after the film aired, the documentary’s protagonist was murdered, while Fazili and his team members started receiving death threats.

Fazili said he feared what will happen to Afghanistan when the world looks away. He said: “The moment we stop talking about Afghanistan, it will be more important to see what the Taliban actually do.”

He added: “Believe me they won’t do it initially in Kabul, rather it will start in places like Kandahar and the rural areas, and slowly — as they have done before — will move towards Kabul. So, the world needs to keep a tab on the Taliban for the greater good.”

Follow all the updates on what’s happening in Afghanistan in our live blog here.

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