Light entertainment

Under the Taliban, Afghan light entertainment accrued unusual weight

For a television talent show, Afghan Star had unusually high stakes. When it first hit Afghanistan’s screens in 2005, four years after the fall of the Taliban, it represented the triumph of music over those who had attempted to smother it. Even from the show’s somewhat chaotic inception, it galvanised a nation, sending supporters out on to the streets to canvas for their favourite performers. When the Taliban first swept into town, people were overjoyed: they were seen as ‘angels of peace’ The first winner, Shakib Hamdard, certainly deserved some luck: he had lost his father to a suicide bomb and his brother to a rocket attack, and was driving