A video has gone viral on social media that shows mannequins being beheaded after the Taliban reportedly instructed Afghan shop owners to remove the dummies’ heads because they infringe Islamic rules.
The footage, which has been widely shared online, shows an unidentified man in an apron sawing off the heads of mannequins clad in long glittery dresses. A pile of mannequin heads can be seen on the floor beneath the stool he is using to behead the dolls.
Aziz Rahman, the head of the ministry’s local arm, referred to the mannequins as “statues” and accused people of infringing Islamic law by worshipping them. Mr Rahman stated those who ignored the ruling would face grave penalties.
Local businesses have reportedly hit out at the ban, and commentators said it would cause more headaches for firms who are already finding it hard to stay afloat under the Taliban’s new regime.
Earlier in the week, Marzia Babakarkhail, who used to work as a family court judge in Afghanistan but now lives in the UK, told The Independent the Taliban’s order for the heads of mannequins to be removed was “brutal”.
The campaigner for Afghan women’s rights, added: “This is the kind of behaviour of children. Not of a government leading a country. This shows the nasty face of the Taliban.
“If the Taliban cannot accept a doll, how can they accept a woman with a voice to be in Afghanistan.
“Now when I read the news, I am scared. The Taliban pretends to change. They announced an amnesty saying they forgive all of their opponents but this is a big lie. We should stand against the Taliban. We should have our rights.”
The hardline Islamist group seized control of Afghanistan in mid-August as American and British forces withdrew - quickly declaring Afghan women would be blocked from taking part in all sports.
Human Rights Watch has noted the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue is a government department that was a “notorious symbol of abuse”, especially against women and girls, when the Taliban previously ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.
When the Taliban ruled the nation back then, women were barred from working and leaving the house without a male relative, and girls were blocked from going to school.
New rules unveiled by the Taliban in November blocked soap operas and dramas from including women actors in Afghanistan.
The regulations have also forbidden all films thought to infringe “Islamic or Afghan values,” as well as making the hijab – a head covering some Muslims choose to wear – compulsory for all female journalists who appear on TV.