Afghanistan: Musicologist and Taliban bomb victim returns to Kabul

3 June 2015


On 25 May 2015, the British newspaper The Guardian published an article which brings an update on what happened with Dr Ahmad Sarmast, a music professor who founded the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and who was seated in the front row when, on 11 December 2014, a suicide bomber attacked the French cultural centre in Kabul.

Dr Ahmad Sarmast survived the attack, in which a German man was killed, but he was far from unscathed. Eleven pieces of shrapnel had lodged in the back of his head. And, immediately after the attack, Sarmast had difficulties hearing. An hour later, a man whose entire life revolved around music, had become completely deaf.

Sarmast flew to Australia to undergo surgery. His hearing gradually returned, but it was severely damaged. Eventually, surgeons removed the shrapnel from his skull and restored his hearing to a level where he could distinguish instruments and once again enjoy the sound of a full orchestra. In April 2015, the 53-year-old musicologist returned to Kabul.

“Freedom of expression will help them open their minds. They will see what we are doing here is not a threat.”
Dr Ahmad Sarmast

» The Guardian – 25 May 2015:
He was the saviour of Afghan music. Then a Taliban bomb took his hearing
“When musicologist Ahmad Sarmast’s pioneering institute – open to girls and boys, women and men from all backgrounds – became a target, it nearly cost him his life. But the attack has only made him more determined.”
Article by Sune Engel Rasmussen in Kabul

More information:

» Freemuse – 13 December 2014:
Afghanistan: Theatre performance attacked by suicide bomber

» Articles on about Afghanistan

Students of Afghan National Institute of Music performing at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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