Can You Stop the Birds Singing? The Censorship of Music in Afghanistan

Baily, John S.. 2001. Can You Stop the Birds Singing? The Censorship of Music in Afghanistan. Copenhagen: Freemuse. ISBN 0004707729 [Book]

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Abstract or Description

The people of Afghanistan under Taliban rule are subjected to an extreme form of music censorship. The only musical activity permitted is the singing of certain types of religious song and Taliban "chants".
The report traces the gradual imposition of music censorship since 1978, when the communist government of Nur Ahmad Taraki came to power in a violent coup d'etat. During 14 years of communist rule, music in Afghanistan was heavily controlled by the Ministry for Information and Culture, while in the refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran all music was prohibited in order to maintain a continual state of mourning. The roots of the Taliban ban on music lie in the way these camps were run.

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For full-text access and music samples follow the link above. Post scriptum (September 2003) at

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Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2009 15:42

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 15:54


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