The Taliban impose beards, local clothing and segregation

The hard-line Taliban government in Afghanistan has decided to impose more control over employees and the population by mandating beards and the wearing of loose, covering clothing, as well as hats or turbans.

Sources told Reuters that the Ministry for Propagating Virtue and Preventing Vice began patrolling government offices on Monday, March 28.andverifying that employees were complying with the new rules.

According to the sources, the men were told not to shave or trim their beards and to wear modest local dress, i.e. a long loose top over long trousers with a hat or turban. . They were also told that they must pray at the right time or face dismissal.

The news comes a day after the government ordered parks to be gender-segregated, with women only allowed in three days a week and men the other four days. The restrictions also apply to families, meaning even married couples and young girls and boys cannot accompany parents of the opposite sex.

The Taliban last week banned women from taking flights without a male chaperone and did not open girls’ schools as promised after they closed earlier this month.

The Taliban have repeatedly claimed that they have abandoned the draconian rules applied during their last term (1996 – 2001), but their actions have proven otherwise, prompting strong local and international criticism.

The U-turn on schools prompted the US government to pull out of talks with the financially troubled country as Western sanctions brought the country to its knees.

With the Taliban enforcing beards, loose local clothing and restricting the movement of women, the chances of reaching a deal with the international community remain slim, experts say.


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Gladys T. Hensley