At 12 years old, Negin Khpalwak decided she wanted to study music. Then, her uncles threatened to kill her.
Khpalwak, now 20, is from the restive Kunar province in Eastern Afghanistan. I meet her in a classroom in Kabul, where she sits behind a grand piano surrounded by young women and girls clutching violins, clarinets, and cellos. Khpalwak listens to Lauren Braithwaite, a woodwind teacher originally from the UK, as she leads a rehearsal session of Zohra, Afghanistan’s first women’s orchestra, which is a project of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, or ANIM.
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