Rhythmless Nation

The Taliban believes music is wrong. Musicians are paying the price

"God, everyone in this world has a lover except me," sings a woman. "Why is it so?" Her lament, in Persian, throbs over the speakers of a cab heading for Kabul, Afghanistan. An hour into the six-hour journey from neighboring Pakistan, the taxi driver abruptly switches cassettes, and chants of Koranic verse replace the pop song. Moments later, the car stops at a checkpoint. The wooden poles of the barrier are entwined with strips of confiscated audiotape and film, the loose ends flapping in the wind. A guard peers into the car and inspects the four passengers and driver before allowing...

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