Baktash Kamran

Farhad DaryaAiab Gul DeishadAziz GhaznawiBaktash KamranFazl-u-Rahman WahdatGhazal AhmadiNairezSafdar TawakoliSahar AfarinZhakfar HussainiClick to go to main page of 'The cage is singing'
Baktash Kamran

Baktash Kamran is a lead singer in his own band, Kamran Music Group, famous amongst young Afghans.

Baktash Kamran is the son of the popular Afghan comedian, Haji Mohammad Kamran.

Click on the photo two times to start the video.


In this interview Baktash Kamran speaks about his experiences with music prohibition during the Taliban period, 1996-2001. He was arrested and beaten up by the Taliban’s OPVPV (Office for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) four times, and eventually immigrated to Pakistan.


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Video interview duration: 2:11 minutes.

The interview was prepared and edited by Samay Hamed in Kabul in Afghanistan in 2006-2008. Post-editing by Mik Aidt/Freemuse.
Signature music: Safdar Tawakoli.


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Click to read more about music censorship in Afghanistan

Transcription of the video interview

“I am Baktash Kamran, son of the Afghan artist Haji Mohammad Kamran. I want to speak about the music censorship which happens in Afghanistan.

In the Taliban’s period (1996-2001), I started singing, and I have been beaten up four times – badly beaten up! In the Taliban’s period, no one could have access to music, and no one was allowed to sing – or even to listen to music. Since I was very interested in music, I was singing at that time.

The first time I was arrested (by the Taliban) happened in 3rd Macrorian Crossroad. They caught me carrying a keyboard. They beat me, and forced me to break the keyboard into pieces.

The second time I was caught, was in 3rd Section of Khair Khana. I borrowed a keyboard from a friend’s house. When I came out from his house, the Taliban spotted that I had something, and when they found out it was a keyboard, the beat me again. They beat me… I escaped… But they caught me again, and beat me more. As I was running, they threw a stone, and it hit me on the shoulder. Then, I got on to a car. The car was a ‘women’s car’… At that time there was different cars for men and for women. Then they tore me out from the ‘woman’s car’ and beat me again. I really got badly beaten! They took me to the house where I had borrowed the keyboard and asked: ‘What more is here? Bring them all out!’ I swore that there was nothing else except that keyboard in the house. They beat me again, and finally, since they couldn’t find anything else, they released me.

The third time I was arrested was in Torkham when I was transferring a harmonium to Pakistan. In Torkham they caught me… I had opened the harmonium and made it look like a box. They took the harmonium, broke it, beat me again, and I left for Pakistan.”

This interview is a part of the Freemuse Special Report, ‘The cage is singing’

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