Earlier this week, the Taliban painted over a wall of the former United States embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, decorating the building with a giant Taliban flag, and now they are painting over a series of murals lining the streets of downtown Kabul, including a mural designed to commemorate the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement in 2020, and a mural of George Floyd.
The artwork is being slowly replaced with Taliban victory messages and Islamic slogans, the New York Post reported.
“The Taliban are whitewashing murals in Kabul, Afghanistan, depicting historic US social and political moments — including one commemorating their peace agreement with the US,” the Post noted Thursday.
“The streets of Kabul, which were once home to brightly colored murals honoring a murdered Japanese aid worker, the drowning of Afghan refugees in Iran, the peace agreement, the death of George Floyd, and others honoring social or political issues, are being replaced by paintings of Taliban flags and Islamic slogans,” the outlet continued.
The murals are the work of an Afghan group called the “Artlords” “painted the murals on walls and blast barriers, spending eight years transforming swathes of Kabul until the Taliban marched in,” per The Guardian.
The Floyd mural, which depicts the racial justice icon holding a placard that says, “I Can’t Breathe,” is meant to draw a connection between Floyd’s death, which sparked a global movement, and the drowning deaths of Afghan migrants attempting to enter Iran. Afghanistan, before the Taliban, claimed that the migrants were “pushed into the river after being tortured, a charge denied by Iran.”
Floyd’s portrait is slated for replacement, The Guardian added, but it is not clear whether the Taliban has painted over that mural yet.
One of the members of “Artlords,” Omar Sharifi, blamed the Taliban for not “understanding” the artwork and trying to sanitize the city in order to comply with the austere and strict Taliban rule.
“Our aim was to promote critical thinking and put pressure on the government to accept people’s demands,” Sharifi said. “Taliban was and is an armed movement that only understands guns, violence, beating, beheading, suicide vests and bombs. There is no vocabulary about art in the Taliban’s dictionary. They even cannot imagine art. I think they don’t understand it, that’s why they are destroying it.”
“These murals not only belong to me or the Artlords, they belong to the people of Afghanistan because for each of them we invited 50 to 200 people to paint them,” he said, adding, “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.”
Sharifi is recording “before” and “after” photos of the murals on his Twitter account. He noted that the first mural painted over was the one commemorating the Taliban’s peace deal.
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-امید حفیظه شریفی (@OmaidSharifi) September 3, 2021
Most of the murals now depict slogans honoring the Taliban’s victory.
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