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Afghanistan: Taliban ask merchants to behead models in their stores

Afghanistan: Taliban ask merchants to behead models in their stores

Kabul | The Taliban have ordered clothing sellers in Herat, western Afghanistan, to behead models in their stores, which they consider to be against their interpretation of Islamic law.

The directive comes in addition to a series of measures taken by the Taliban to impose its strict vision of Islam on the country, and to limit public freedoms, especially for women and girls.

“We asked the merchants to cut off the heads of the models, because they contradict the (Islamic) Sharia,” Aziz al-Rahman, head of the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, told AFP on Wednesday. Nawab is in Herat, the country’s third largest city with a population of about 600,000.

He continued, “If they cover the head or hide a mannequin (completely), the angel of God will not come to their store or home to bless them,” adding that the clothes sellers promised obedience.

A video clip showing men viewing the heads of plastic mannequins has gone viral on social media since Tuesday.

The Taliban has yet to issue any national directives on these plastic mannequins, contrary to their strict interpretation of Islamic law, which prohibits depictions of human figures.

During their first rule in the 1990s, the Taliban shocked the world by destroying two Buddha statues.

Since their return to power in Afghanistan, the Taliban, who seek recognition by the international community and want the return of much-needed humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, say they are more moderate.

But the Islamists have since imposed several restrictions, especially on women and girls. They declared that women wishing to travel long distances must be accompanied by a male relative and called on taxi drivers to accept women in their cars only if they were wearing the “Islamic headscarf”.

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The Taliban authorities have also increased searches for alcohol and banned music.