Afghanistan’s only music school for girls is sending out a cry for help to get its students safely out of the country following the takeover of the Taliban.
“Today our lives are in great danger as the success we achieved in becoming part of Afghanistan’s cultural scene has now marked us for persecution and even death by the Taliban,” The Miraculous Love Kids, led by American guitarist and teacher Lanny Cordola, shared in a heartbreaking statement.
“Now, with the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Kabul, we are literally in hiding, with our most senior students in particular danger. Our school is closed, and many of the people who were supposed to protect us now see us as a bargaining chip to gain favor or even a bounty from the Taliban. As girls playing Western music…we could not be at greater risk.”
Began in 2006 as a nonprofit initiative with just three students, the school grew during the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan to nearly 200 female students, all of whom were taught reading, math and other essential life skills that were previously not afforded to girls and women under the sharia law of the Taliban’s rule.
Now, Cordola and his students are seeking a way to safely get to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, which was recently struck by a devastating terrorist attack that killed at least 95 people and injured 150 more, per the BBC, as civilians rushed to flee the country.
“We appeal to the international community, to diplomats, politicians, news media, and NGOs working to evacuate civilians under threat, to please find a way to get as many of us on planes leaving Afghanistan to safety. Time is imperative as the airlift is scheduled to end, which would leave us here without hope,” the group continued. “We pray that the international community will not abandon us to a fate that will almost surely be death.”
Cordola has currently been evacuated to Islamabad, Pakistan. He is requesting anyone with military or security contacts who could help secure safe passage to the airport and seats on planes to reach out any time of day or night via telephone at +1-562-209-3769 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: August 30th: Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, who had previously collaborated with The Miraculous Love Kids on their Girl with a Guitar program, has written an open letter hoping to boost awareness. It comes via Billboard, and you can check it out below.
“I’m writing on behalf of some very special girls in Afghanistan who are in grave danger,” Morello wrote. “[Girl with a Guitar] takes in street orphans and other girls that have endured significant trauma and uses music as a rehabilitation tool and means of working through their problems, their histories, and their hopes. I’ve had the honor of collaborating with these wonderful kids. Since the Taliban takeover their school has been destroyed and the girls are in hiding. They are at extreme risk because they are widely known to have performed Western music and have been educated by a male American teacher. Anything you could do to help save their lives would be much appreciated.”