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Kabul ‘Mother’s Statue’ covered then removed

The statue was censored with black cloth, before being removed entirely


21 Mar 2022

On March 18, 2022, social media posts and Aamaj News published a photo of the a statue commonly referred to as the ‘Mother’s Statue’ in Kabul. According to a tweet by Aamaj News, the statue had been covered in black cloth by Taliban in an effort to censor it.

The ‘mother’s statue’ is located at the front of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Kabul University and was created as part of a joint project by female students.

Creation of the statue, which began in 2012 and was completed in 2013, was originally opposed by the Faculty of Sharia, but after much debate, the work was approved upon the condition that the statue did not have a head. The students at the time obliged and replaced the head with a jug of water meant to symbolise the “source of creation” and “beginning of life”.

On March 20, it was reported that the statue had been completely removed by the Taliban, although it is not clear if it has been moved elsewhere or destroyed. Social media posts showed the progression of censorship of the statue, from the original featuring the water jug, to covered, and now an empty plinth where the statue had once stood.

Figure: The progression of censorship of the 'Mother’s Statue', Kabul University.

The move is another sign that Afghanistan's education sector – while being allowed to open to some extent – will have to operate within the boundaries set by the Taliban.

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