Taliban issue no-shave order in southern Afghan province: 'No one has a right to complain'

The Taliban on Monday issued an order forbidding the shaving or trimming of beards in the southern province of Helmand, threatening to punish barbers who violate the directive.

The provincial Taliban government’s vice and virtue department issued the order to barbers in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, arguing that the policy, which is reminiscent of hard-line Taliban rule in the 1990s, is in line with Shariah law, according to The Associated Press.

“If anyone violates the rule [they] will be punished and no one has a right to complain,” the order reportedly said.

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It did not, however, specify what penalties the barbers would be subject to if they violate the policy.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last month, toppling the existing government amid the U.S.’s troop withdrawal from the country.

The insurgent group has since announced its interim government, which includes a number of hard-line leaders from its previous reign in the late 1990s but no women.

The world is now watching to see how the militant organization will run Afghanistan and if it will resurrect strict policies enforced more than two decades ago. 

Since the Taliban were ousted from power by the U.S. in 2001, men have been shaving or cleanly trimming their beards in Afghanistan.

The Taliban gave a potential glimpse into how they will reign this weekend when officials hung a body from a crane in the main square of the city of Herat.

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Wazir Ahmad Seddiqi, who runs a local pharmacy, told the AP that four bodies were brought to the square and three were taken to other parts of the city to be displayed publicly.

Jalaluddin, a barbershop owner in Afghanistan, said he hopes the Taliban rethink their new policy.

“I request our Taliban brothers to give freedom to people to live the way they want, if they want to trim their beard or hair,” he said, according to the AP.

“Now we have few clients coming to us, they are scared, they don’t want to trim their hair or beards, so I request them let people free, so we have our business and people can freely come to us,” he added.

Sher Afzal, another barbershop owner, said the no-shave order will hurt shops financially.

“If someone comes for a haircut, they will come back to us after 40 to 45 days, so it is affecting our business like any other businesses,” he said, according to the AP.