New Taliban Order: No Shaving, Trimming of Beards

The Taliban ordered all barbers in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, to stop cutting hairs and trimming or shaving off beards. The new mandate was announced Monday, September 27, by the Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Ministry of Vice and Virtue) in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.

No-Shave-November started as a fundraising event for cancer research and awareness for most netizens, later evolved into a popular meme with many variations. What is done in goodwill and good intention by the rest of the world is now zealously imposed on the Afghan people. The Taliban claims that their new order is in line with Sharia law.

Bilal Ahmad, a resident in Lashkar Gar, said he is heartbroken hearing of the Taliban's new order. "This is the city, and everyone follows a way of living, so they have to be left alone to do whatever they want," he said.

Despite promises of an inclusive government and better living conditions, the Taliban's new order is reminiscent of their hardline enforcement of Sharia Law during their last reign. The Taliban was notorious for implementing extremely harsh interpretations of Islamic laws, performing beheadings in stadiums. The world is closely watching in bitter disappointment as the Taliban slowly dismantles their promise. Last week, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the founders, announced that executions and cutting off hands would return.

Their pretense of respecting women's rights is conditional under the "framework of Islam." They ended up segregating universities and closing the Ministry of Women Affairs. No penalties are indicated for anyone who defies the new no-shave order, which adds more tension to the Afghans.

The businessmen, especially those who ran barbershops, are imploring the Taliban to reconsider. Jalaluddin asked the Taliban to "give freedom to people to live the way they want if they want to trim their beard or hair." His business is severely affected by the new order, "now we have few clients coming to us; they are scared," he said.

Sher Afzal, another businessman who runs a barbershop, describes how he's losing his business. "If someone comes for a haircut, they will come back to us after 40 to 45 days," he said. But with the new order, Afzal doubts that anyone would come back.

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