Afghanistan's Charlie Chaplin Makes People Laugh Despite Threats From Taliban

"I want to give Afghans a reason to smile"

Wearing oversized shoes, baggy clothes & black bowler hat, stand-up comic Karim Asir becomes Charlie Chaplin and entertains people on the streets of Kabul which are routinely attacked by the Taliban.

His early years were in Iran, where his family fled after Taliban rule took hold in Afghanistan in 1996. Asir grew up watching performances of Chaplin on Iranian TV. After his family finally returned to Afghanistan, Asir started wearing make-up and recreating Chaplin’s characters in his performances, despite his parent’s apprehensions.

Asir says he has been threatened by militants who say his performances are “un-Islamic”. However, despite the threats, he performs in public parks, orphanages, private parties and at charity events organized by international aid agencies.

He told Reuters:

“I want to give my people a chance to forget their problems such as war, conflicts and insecurity in Afghanistan”

Afghanistan’s traditional culture includes music and performance arts. However, under the Taliban’s rule from 1996 to 2001, most cultural activities were banned because they were seen as anti-Islamic.

Asir says he has witnessed suicide attacks, explosions and threats from Islamic militant groups, but is determined to waddle and bumble to fulfil the primary goal of his life.

“I am afraid of getting attacked by a suicide bomber or an explosion but these issues cannot stop me from being Charlie Chaplin”

(With inputs from Reuters)