- September 30, 2021
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It’s shear terror.
Things are getting hairy for barbers in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, where the Taliban police have banned them from shaving or trimming beards in violation of Islamic law, the BBC reports.
“No one has a right to complain,” reads a notice by the militant group that warns barbers to adhere to the strict Sharia law.
Some barbers in the capital city of Kabul also have been warned by the Taliban, who said that all violators face harsh punishment.
“The fighters keep coming and ordering us to stop trimming beards,” a barber in Kabul told the BBC. “One of them told me they can send undercover inspectors to catch us.”
Another one said he got a call from someone claiming to be a government official who ordered him to “stop following American styles” and not to shave or trim beards.
News of the facial mandates comes as Mullah Nooruddin Turab, one of the Taliban’s founders, said the group will once again resort to executions and amputations to enforce a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
Since taking power Aug. 15, the Taliban have sent a collective shudder among Afghans by reinstating the Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which had been abolished following the US occupation.
From 1996 to 2001, the ministry mandated that men grow beards — and the hardline Islamists prohibited music, smoking and other forms of entertainment.
The barbers say the new rules are making it hard for them to make a living.
“For many years my salon was somewhere for young people to shave as their wish and look trendy,” one told the BBC on condition of anonymity. “There is no point continuing this business.”
Another told the outlet: “Fashion salons and barbers are becoming forbidden businesses. This was my job for 15 years and I don’t think I can continue.”
And a barber in Herat said that although he had not received an official order, he had stopped providing beard trims.
“Customers don’t shave their beards [because] they don’t want to be targeted by the Taliban fighters in the streets. They want to blend in and look like them,” he said, adding that his business has dried up despite his price cuts.
“Nobody cares about their style or hair fashion,” the barber said.