Taliban bans barbers from shaving, trimming beards in Afghanistan province
Kabul, Sep 28: In yet another indication of the Taliban new regime would not be any different from the previous rule, the hard-line Islamist government has banned shaving and trimming beards in southern Afghanistan province stating that their edict is in line with Shariah, or Islamic, law.
"Since I have heard (about the ban on trimming beards) I am heart broken," said Bilal Ahmad, a Lashkar Gah resident. "This is the city and everyone follows a way of living, so they have to be left alone to do whatever they want."
The Taliban was known for its strict interpretation of Sharia law when it ruled the country between 1996 and 2001. After the US and its allies toppled the extremist's government following the 9/11 attack, things started changing as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan came into existence.
With the Taliban returning to power again, there were fears among Afghanistani people whether the new regime would re-create their strict governance of the late 1990s.
Indications of harsher punishment for violating laws came recently when Taliban fighters killed four alleged kidnappers and later hung their bodies in the public squares of the western city of Herat. "If anyone violates the rule (they) will be punished and no one has a right to complain," said the order issued to the barbers.
However, it is not clear what will be the punishment for not adhering to the 'no shaving or trimming rule'. The previous regime had urged men to grow beards.
After the US and its allies kicked the Taliban out of power in 2001, people started trimming beards and having cleanly shaven faces. Barbershop owner Jalaluddi requested the new regime to reconsider its decision. "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.
He added, "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 salon owner Sher Afzal said that the order hurts the bottom line. "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 business," he said.