Forbidden business: Taliban prohibit barbers from shaving, trimming beards

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The Taliban have prohibited barbers in Afghanistan’s Helmand province from shaving or trimming beards, saying it breaches their interpretation of Islamic law and anyone who does not adhere to the rule will be punished, the BBC reported on Monday.

Some barbers in Kabul have also received similar orders, which included banning them from playing music in their shops, according to CNN.

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The rules suggest a return to the strict control of the extremist group, similar to that of its past tenure in power, despite their promises to exercise a milder form of government.

“You are urgently informed that from today, shaving beards and playing music in barbershops and public baths are strictly prohibited. If any barbershop or public bath is found to have shaved anyone’s beard or played music, they will be dealt with according to the Sharia principles and they will not have the right to complain,” the local authorities said in a statement issued on Sunday.

“The fighters keep coming and ordering us to stop trimming beards,” a Kabul-based barber told the BBC.

“One of them told me they can send undercover inspectors to catch us.”

Another hairdresser told the BBC that he received a phone call from someone claiming to be a government official who instructed him to “stop following American styles” and to stop shaving and trimming his clients’ beards.

Since the Taliban seized power in August, there have been many reports of harsh crackdowns, including the detention and assault of journalists, the use of whips as a form of punishment against women who took part in protests and the public hanging of alleged criminals.

In addition to this, the extremist group has not permitted girls and women to resume secondary education, breaching promises that were made when it came into power.

When the Taliban first seized power between 1996 and 2001, it banned flamboyant hairstyles, insisting that men grow out their beards. However, since then, many Afghan men opted for fashionable haircuts, the BBC reported.

“For many years my salon was somewhere for young people to shave as their wish and look trendy,” a salon owner told the BBC. “There is no point to continue this business.”

“Fashion salons and barbers are becoming forbidden businesses,” another said. “This was my job for 15 years and I don’t think I can continue.”

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