Second Nawroz Under the Taliban; People were not Allowed to Celebrate

By: Fahim Amin

The Taliban once again imposed restrictions on how the Afghan people celebrated the second Nowruz. Since the Taliban leaders oppose Nowruz celebrations, members of the Taliban attempted to prevent people from celebrating Nawroz in Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan, prohibiting women and families from visiting amusement parks. This is the second year that Nawroz, an ancient way of honoring seasonal change in nature, has been prohibited under the rule of the Taliban who have disregarded Nawroz and called upon the government employees to be present in their offices on Nawroz. Additionally, the Taliban are reported to have prevented the residents of MazareSharif from visiting Sakhi Jan shrine in the center of MazareSharif. SakhiJan temple used to attract many people from various provinces of Afghanistan during theJanda Bala ceremony, when people raised flags as a sign of the New Year Eve. The majority of the residents of Balkh province have described the Talibans prohibition of Nawroz as tragic, hoping for an end to the Talibans rule in the upcoming solar year. According to the citizens, the Taliban officials have imposed further restrictions on the residents regarding the celebration of Nawroz, which originated in Balkh thousands of years ago.

Abdullah, an employee of the Taliban‘s regime, informed HashteSubh that his department‘s officials had warned governmental workers that they could be dismissed if they failed to attend work in order to celebrate Nawroz.The Taliban instructed us to work even during Nawroz, so it was essential for government employees to be present in their offices on Nawroz. One of the Taliban members was assigned to visit the governmental offices and to count the number of present workers,” Abdullah stated.

Mohammad Nasim, a resident of the 13th district of Kabul, had planned to take his family to the Qargha River to celebrate Nawroz, but told HashteSubh,I drove the car and asked my family to spend some time at Qargha. As we were getting close, I noticed that other families were returning. They said that family travel was not allowed today. So, I did not dare to ask the Taliban why they had imposed such strict restrictions on Nawroz.

Kabul residents noted that they did not disturb anyone during the Janda Bala ceremony, which was held in two parts of Kabul: KartaeSakhi and ShohadaeSalehin cemetery. They also observed that fewer people were able to attend the ceremony compared to previous years.

Female protestors in Afghanistan launched protests against the Taliban‘s restrictions, referring to them asterrorists“. Parwana Ebrahimkhel Nejrabi, one of the female protestors in Kabul, shared her Nawroz greeting in a video, saying:We celebrate Nawroz to honour our ancient cultural events; we celebrate Nawroz to persist against extreme terrorists.” Members of the Women‘s SelfEvoked Movement, led by female protestors, cooked local food, prepared juice made of seven fruits, and sang a song to welcome Nawroz in resistance to the Taliban‘s restrictions.

The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice of the Taliban has declared Nawroz to be an unIslamic holiday, asserting that those who observe it are not genuine Muslims, having imposed restrictions on Nawroz.

Nawroz Greetings

Highranking representatives of countries, international organizations, and former prominent Afghan public leaders all extended their New Year‘s greetings to mark the beginning of the solar new year, Nawroz.

President Joe Biden of the United States of America sent a message of Nawroz greetings. Additionally, Thomas West, the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan, expressed his sincerest wish for Afghan girls and women to resume their education and employment in a message commemorating Nawroz.

Naseer Ahmad Faiq, the representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, tweeted on his social media account that the International Day of Nawroz was commemorated at the United Nations headquarters, along with countries that officially celebrate Nawroz. Additionally, Google changed its logo to honor Nawroz, decorating it with springtime flowers and colors in the opening seconds of the year 1402, which only lasted one day.

Nawroz is one of the oldest cultural celebrations, serving as a reminder of the vitality of life in the spring. It is widely celebrated in twelve countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, India, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, despite its long history of over 3,600 years. Furthermore, these countries have recorded Nawroz in the UNESCO calendar.