Bratislava, Slovakia – Four members of Zohra, Afghanistan’s first all-female orchestra, have gone missing in Slovakia.
According to local reports, the four singers and musicians disappeared from their hotel after taking part in the Pohoda Festival, one of Slovakia’s most popular music festivals held every year in the city of Trencin, about one hour north of Bratislava.
Slovak police said the members of the orchestra, whose names and identity haven’t been released by local authorities, returned to their hotel after performing at the festival on July 13, but went missing from their hotel the following day.
“I can confirm that the search for two female teenagers and two female adults from Afghanistan is ongoing”, said spokesman for the Trencin police Pavel Kudlicka.
Some orchestra members assumed they had gone to Germany, where one of the missing girls has a cousin.
Zohra, a 35-member all-female orchestra from Afghanistan named after a Persian goddess of music, was founded in 2014 in Kabul and rose to prominence on the world-stage two years ago after performing at the closing of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The first Afghan all-female orchestra, which includes many orphans, teenagers and women from disadvantaged backgrounds, Zohra has reportedly received regular death threats in its home country, where music was banned for years under the previous Taliban regime.
Afghanistan’s first female conductors, Negin Khpalwak and Zarifa Adiba, are also part of the band.