MTI wrote that local officials from the hardline Islamist Taliban movement have banned beard shaving in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.
Hafiz Razid Helmand, director of information and culture for the Taliban, told the local newspaper, Atelarose, that the decision was made during consultation with the provincial police, who maintain religious rules, with the owners of local barbershops.
Taliban authorities warned hairdressers of the consequences of cutting a person’s beard visibly in an official periodic message on social media. However, this was not disclosed.
The Taliban seized power in mid-August. Since then, co-educational higher education has been abolished, women are required to wear the headscarf or Islamic headscarf, and in some provinces they are not allowed to work except for health and education. In addition, girls were prohibited from attending school after the sixth grade.
According to news agencies, it is not yet clear whether the Taliban will rule the country by suppressing women, as they did in the late 1990s, or by easing austerity. The opinions of the movement’s leaders, based on their statements so far, remain very conservative, notwithstanding their aversion to using the latest telecommunications and data communications technologies, such as cell phones.