The Taliban have begun painting victory slogans over murals and graffiti that have adorned the Afghan capital for the last decade.
For eight years, Artlords, an art collective led by activist Omaid Sharifi, had been transforming Kabul by painting colorful murals across the capital.
Now, their efforts to bring awareness to various social issues and victories have been overcome by the Taliban who began covering their murals with plain victory slogans in a bid to get rid of western influence and impose their strict views and values on Afghanistan.
Among hundreds of murals that have reportedly been painted over was the one depicting the peace agreement between the Taliban and the US.
The Islamists have also painted over a mural dedicated to Tetsu Nakamura, a Japanese doctor who was killed in 2019, and George Floyd, who died in 2020 after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes.
“Some of these murals were the soul of Kabul. They gave beauty to the city and kindness to the people of Kabul who were suffering,” Sharifi said in an interview with the Guardian.
“These are about the wishes, demands and the asks of Afghan people. It was their voice on these walls. These murals were against corruption and were pushing for transparency.”
Among other buildings that were not spared from changes is also the former US embassy on which the Taliban painted their understanding of the Shahada Statement. The mural reads: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”
“It’s a very difficult choice (to leave), and I just hope nobody ever experiences what we went through,” Sharifi, who was forced to flee to UAE after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, added.
“Afghanistan is my home, it’s my identity… I cannot take out all my roots and plant myself in another part of the world.”
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