Four members of Afghan all-female orchestra disappeared from Slovakia

Afghanistan's orchestra Zohra played at Pohoda Festival on July 13.

ZOHRA is the first and the only Afghan all-female orchestra. ZOHRA is the first and the only Afghan all-female orchestra. (Source: Sme)

Four members of the Zohra orchestra, the first all-female orchestra in Afghanistan, disappeared from a hotel in Trenčianske Teplice hours after their concert at Pohoda Festival in Trenčín on July 13, as reported by the Nový Čas daily.

Despite this, the unique Afghan orchestra, named after the Persian goddess of music, continued to play several successful shows in western Slovakia.

The lives of girls playing in the orchestra, founded five years ago in Kabul, changed completely after their performance at the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in the Swiss town of Davos.

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However, many of the orchestra's members are facing threats and attacks in their home country, even from their relatives.

Police search

Ahmad Sarmast, who founded the orchestra, said the girls went missing at four in the morning, Nový Čas wrote.

The girls left the hotel voluntarily, the Sme daily reported.

As soon as it surfaced four girls disappeared, the police began to search for them, not publishing their names and photographs because of their ages.

“I can confirm the search for two female teenagers and two female adult children from Afghanistan,” said Pavol Kudličkas, a spokesperson for the Trenčín regional police, as quoted by Nový Čas.

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Where did they go?

Some orchestra members mentioned one of the girls has a cousin in Germany, several hotel guests said.

“I just heard them talking and assume that they ran away to Germany where the cousin lives,” said one of the guests to Nový Čas.

It took six months for the orchestra members to obtain a visa to enter the EU.

“The girls are in Europe legally, and they still have valid visas,” said Michal Kaščák, Pohoda Festival head, as quoted by Sme.

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