The Taliban have banned barbers in a southern Afghanistan province from shaving or trimming beards.
During their previous rule, the Taliban adhered to a harsh interpretation of Islam. The conservative group insisted that men grow beards. Since being ousted from power following the US-led invasion in 2001, many men have opted for trimmed beards or a clean shave.
“If anyone violates the rule [they] will be punished and no one has a right to complain,” said the directive issued to the barbers.
It was not immediately clear what penalties the barbers could face if they did not comply with the rule.
“Since I have heard [about the ban on trimming beards] I am heartbroken,” Bilal Ahmad, a Lashkar Gah resident, told AP. “This is the city and everyone follows a way of living, so they have to be left alone to do whatever they want.”
Since the Taliban overran Kabul on August 15 and took control of the country, the world has been watching to see whether the group will restore their strict governance of the late 1990s.
On Saturday, Taliban fighters killed four alleged kidnappers and later hung their bodies in the public squares of the western city of Herat.
Barbershop owner Jalaluddin, who gave only one name, said he hoped the Taliban would reconsider their demands.
“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.
“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.”
Another barbershop owner, Sher Afzal, said the decree hurt the revenue.
“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.”