‘The Voice’ Star Aryana Sayeed Flees Afghanistan Due to Taliban Threats
Tension in Afghanistan has been on the rise since the Taliban’s seize of power. Recently, Afghanistan’s biggest female pop star, Aryana Sayeed, fled the country on a U.S. Air Force plane. Sayeed was a judge on Afghanistan’s The Voice, and assured fans of her safety on Wednesday.
The 36-year old fled Kabul, Afghanistan over growing fears of the Taliban this week. The singer and The Voice star escaped with her husband and boarded a plane to Qatar. From there, the couple say they will travel safely to Istanbul, Turkey, where she lives. Upon boarding the flight, Sayeed posted an update to confirm her safety and whereabouts.
“I had said in one of my recent interviews that I will be the ‘Last Soldier to leave the Motherland’… and interestingly enough, that is exactly what happened,” Sayeed shared on Instagram. “I am well and alive and after a couple of unforgettable nights, I have reached Doha, Qatar and am awaiting my eventual flight back home to Istanbul. After I get home and my mind and emotions return back to normal from a world of disbelief and shock, I have many stories to share with you My LOVE/S!!”
Aryana Sayeed: Pop Star, The Voice Coach, Activist
Sayeed was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. She first left her home when she was just eight years old, and settled in Switzerland with her family. At age 12, she gained acceptance to a music school where she could perform in a choir. In 2008, she released her first single “MashAllah.” She reached a turning point in her career after releasing “Afghan Pesarak” in 2011, becoming a household name in many Afghan homes.
From there, she was requested to perform at many concerts around the world. On her rise to stardom, Sayeed regularly visited Afghanistan, where her life was at risk. She joined The Voice in 2013, and appeared in fashionable, form-fitting clothing without a Hijab. In an interview with CNN, the pop star states that mosque leaders have threatened her life.
“They said that whoever kills this singer would go to heaven,” she told the publication. “It was getting really difficult, I couldn’t go anywhere. I was basically a prisoner in my hotel room, I had bodyguards with me all the time.”
Sayeed has always been a vocal supporter of women’s rights, which have become in jeopardy since the Taliban’s takeover. While coaching The Voice‘s first season, she turned her chair for contestant Shabana Faryad, the only female contestant to audition that year. As a supporter of the #WhereIsMyName campaign, Sayeed helped bring about change in Afghan law so that women’s names could be included on identity cards.
Awards and Accolades
In 2017, she won the Afghan Icon Award and was named the Best Female Artist of Afghanistan that year. She also received the title of “Voice of Afghanistan” from the country’s National Television and Radio network. Additionally, the singer has earned awards for Best Song of the Year, Best Video of the Year, and a Bravery Award.
It’s easy to say she is living up to that title. Sayeed has not posted any further updates since appearing on her flight yesterday. However, it is confirmed that she is safe and sound.