More than a fortnight has passed since the Taliban seized control of Kabul. Even as Afghans struggle to cope with their new reality, the Taliban are wasting no time in wiping out all symbols of western influence from many parts of the country. Afghanistan’s capital city has become the site of Taliban supporters painting over murals created by an art collective called ‘Artlords’. According to the murals in question, one of them depicts the shooting of George Floyd and another depicts Afghan refugees drowning in Iran.
Another mural depicting the Doha agreement between the Taliban and the US that led to the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan has also been painted over by Taliban supporters. Many of these murals have been painted over with flags and slogans of the Taliban. ‘You have to be patient to gain an Islamic system and independence’, read one of the slogans. According to Omaid Sharifi, co-founder of the group ‘Artlords’, each mural is an extension of myself, an extension of Artlords, and an extension of the artists who painted them. Kabul’s soul was reflected in some of these murals. Sharifi described them as people who gave beauty to Kabul and gave kindness to those suffering inside.
And it begun. The Taliban have started painting over our murals. They started with the historic one that marked the signing of #DohaDeal. #BaradarKhalilzadMural is no more. Instead, the black and white message says don’t trust the enemy’s propaganda, quoting Mullah Haibatullah. pic.twitter.com/Pls4McUQkj
— Omaid H. Sharifi-???? ????? ????? (@OmaidSharifi) September 3, 2021
When asked about another mural in central Kabul that was dedicated to a Japanese doctor and aid worker who was killed in 2019, Omar Sharifi said that erasing the mural will not erase Tetsu Nakamura’s memory. As of Tuesday, the Taliban announced the establishment of a ‘caretaker’ government in Afghanistan, led by Mullah Akhund. Mullah Akhund, the co-founder of the Taliban, served as the group’s head of the leadership council – Rehbari Shura – for nearly 20 years before he was promoted to the top post.