Afghanistan’s Charlie Chaplin giving his country a reason to smile


Afghanistan's Charlie Chaplin witnessed some horrific events but is determined to waddle and bumble to fulfil the goal of his life.

Karim Asir, 25, a stand-up comedian who performs across the capital Kabul in Chaplin's trademark oversized shoes, baggy pants, cane and black bowler hat says he wants to give Afghans a reason to smile.

He says Chaplin impersonators are found all over the world because they help ignore grief and makes everyone laugh, and he does the same.

Afghanistan's Charlie Chaplin.


Asir's early years were in Iran, where his family had fled after the hardline Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1996.

There he saw performances of Chaplin on Iranian TV.

After the family returned home, Asir started wearing make-up and recreating Chaplin's characters in his performances, despite his parent's apprehensions.

But now his father says the family is proud of him.

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SBS News

His live performances provide a brief respite in a city that routinely gets attacked by the Taliban insurgents and suicide bombers, mainly claiming allegiance to Islamic State.

Afghans who've seen the show say they enjoy the positive messages found in his performance, some are even happier to learn Asir is Afghan himself.

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

In Kabul, when his fans surround him to take selfies, he smiles but is constantly worried about attacks.

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SBS News


"I am afraid of being targeted by suicide bombings or explosions but these issues cannot stop me carrying out my work and performances. I'll continue my performances despite these issues and threats which exist in the country," he says.

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. 

Source Reuters - SBS

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