- Title: Cut off from escape, an Afghan hip-hop dancer fears for his life
- Date: 25th August 2021
- Summary: UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, AFGHANISTAN (AUGUST 24, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN BREAK DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHER, SAYING: "For people who are outside of Afghanistan, 31st of August is just a date but for us, it's like either you will go or you will stay forever. It is something like that because we know that once everybody is out, all the foreigners are out, the full control of the airport, the international airport, will be under the control of the Taliban and there is no way that commercial flights will start very soon. It is just the last hope we should be lost."
- Embargoed: 8th September 2021 14:17
- Keywords: Afghan dancer Afghan trapped Afghanistan Taliban takeover
- Location: UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, AFGHANISTAN & UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION
- City: UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, AFGHANISTAN & UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Asia / Pacific
- Reuters ID: LVA00IERS2CLJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS NOTE: NAME OF BREAKDANCER AND LOCATION NOT DISCLOSED DUE TO SAFETY REASONS
With less than a week until the U.S. withdrawal from Kabul, an Afghan hip-hop dancer sees little chance of escape and fears he will be killed by the Taliban.
"Hip-hop is western culture... It's American. They hate it," said the 27-year-old teacher and choreographer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.
"Twenty years ago if a person was caught active in this kind of scene they would either be beheaded or shot dead," he told Reuters via video call, referring to the first time the Taliban held power in Afghanistan in 1996-2001.
With a crew of fellow dancers, including two women, he has taught street dance and performed at shows across Afghanistan and in India.
But under the Taliban, which banned the playing of musical instruments during its first time in power, such dancing will almost certainly be outlawed.
The Taliban has said it will respect the rights of women and minorities, but many Afghans are sceptical and fear old enemies will be rounded up.
"I will do my best to get into the airport and catch a flight. That would be a miracle, that would be lifesaving," said the dancer, a member of the Hazara ethnic minority that has long been targeted by militants, including the Taliban and Islamic State, for their ethnicity and religious beliefs.
He hopes to get to Spain, where his brother lives. The rest of his dance crew have left the country but he has been unable to secure safe passage.
In one of the biggest such airlifts ever, the United States and its allies have evacuated more than 70,000 people, including their citizens and Afghans at risk, since Aug. 14, the day before the Taliban swept into the capital Kabul to bring to an end a 20-year foreign military presence.
Tens of thousands of Afghans fearing persecution have thronged Kabul's airport since the Taliban takeover, hoping to secure seats on flights.
"I have a very bad feeling that I won't make it out of here," he said.
(Production: Marco Trujillo, Silvio Castellanos, Nathan Allen)
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