Three people were shot and killed at a wedding ceremony in eastern Afghanistan by gunmen who identified themselves as Taliban members. The shooting took place in the Nangarhar province last Friday injuring 10 people after an argument erupted over the music being played during the ceremony.

According to NBC News, two residents said they had recognized the gunmen as local Taliban members, describing their manner of arguments with the family holding the ceremony as harsh. "Their arguments led to an armed clash," he said.

In a statement Saturday, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied the gunmen were acting on behalf of the Islamist group or were even their members. He did confirm they had arrested three armed men.

In an interview with the BBC, an eyewitness said that four couples were in the midst of a joint wedding ceremony in Surkh Rod and had asked permission from a local Taliban leader to play music in an area designated only for women. However, in the course of the evening’s celebrations, the gunmen forced their way inside and smashed the loudspeakers. Guests spoke out in protest against their actions, which triggered the armed men to open fire at the guests. 

At this point, Mujahid said the case is under investigation. The Taliban has been previously accused in the murder of a folk singer prompting many musicians and singers to flee Afghanistan in the wake of its take over.

On the other hand, the Islamist State group is also said to be active in the Nangarhar province and has been accused of similar incidents despite being opposed to the Taliban rule.  

Playing of music was banned by the Taliban when it ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Although the Afghan government has now been taken over by the radical Islamist group, a new decree on music has not been issued. Since its return to power in August, the Taliban has already imposed extreme and strict interpretations of the Islamic law. This is despite having assured citizens of a moderate rule in its bid to project a different image of the Taliban and gain international recognition amongst world leaders. 

Taliban fighters Taliban fighters walk at the courtyard of the Hazrat-e-Ali shrine or Blue Mosque, in Mazar-i-Sharif on October 30, 2021. Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images