Taliban bans hairdressers in Afghanistan’s Helmand province from shaving or trimming beards

·2-min read
File: Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul (Getty Images)
File: Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul (Getty Images)

The Taliban has banned some hairdressers in Afghanistan from shaving or trimming beards as the militant group extended its hardline rule based on Islamic law within a month of seizing control of the country.

A letter signed by Taliban officials asked salons to enforce “puritanical Islamic law” and warned them that violators would be punished, said a local journalist in a tweet.

“In Helmand, a letter signed by the Provincial Director of Preaching and Guidance and Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the office to enforce puritanical Islamic law — warning hair salons not to trim or shave beard. Lack of enforcement will mean punishment and shaming,” the tweet read.

The rule has been imposed in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province and certain parts of the capital city Kabul, according to BBC News.

Local salons in the south Asian country have also reported an increase in scrutiny from the Taliban. A hairdresser running a prominent salon in Kabul said he received a call from a Taliban official instructing him to “stop following American styles”.

The Taliban’s interpretation of sharia law includes conservative ideas such as asking men to keep their beards in an effort to break away from western lifestyle practices, punishing crimes by executions and amputations, and restricting access to education and employment for women.

Soon after storming to power by force in Afghanistan, the Taliban had promised to move away from its previous hardline and ultra conservative rule of the late 90s. But there have been signs in the last few weeks of a return to some of those policies.

On Saturday, Taliban fighters shot dead four alleged kidnappers before hanging their bodies in the streets of Afghan city Herat.

Punishment by the means of amputations and executions will be reintroduced in Afghanistan, a senior leader of the militant group said last week. They may not be carried out publicly, the leader Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, known for his extremist views, said.

“Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security,” Mr Turabi said, claiming that it would serve as a deterrent.

During its previous rule, the Taliban had banned Afghans from listening to music, watching television, and stopped women from working or attending schools. It also required women to be accompanied by a male guardian in public and, if found in violation, the women were flogged publicly as “punishment”.

Trying to show its departure from the previous regime, the Taliban said it will now allow girls to study and work but only if in a separate classroom without boys. It has mandated universities and colleges to separate the genders by walls or curtains.

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