Taliban ban government employees without beards from working


KABUL (Reuters) – The Afghan Taliban have ordered all government employees to wear a beard and adhere to a dress code or risk being fired, three sources told Reuters, the latest of several new restrictions imposed by the stubborn Islamist government.

The sources said officials from the Ministry for Propagation of Virtues and Prevention of Vices patrolled the entrances to government offices on Monday to check whether staff were complying with the new rules.

Employees were instructed not to shave their beards and to wear local dress consisting of a long, loose top and trousers and a hat or turban. They have also been urged to make sure they pray at the right time, two of the sources said.

Workers were told they would no longer be able to enter offices and would eventually be fired if they failed to comply with the dress code, the sources said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Morality did not respond to a request for comment.

Last week, the Taliban banned women from flying without a male escort and failed to open girls’ schools as promised.

On Sunday, it ordered the parks to be segregated by gender, with women allowed in three days a week and men the other four days, including the weekend, meaning even married couples and families cannot visit together.

The Taliban government has been criticized domestically and by Western governments for imposing its uncompromising interpretation of Islamic law on all Afghans.

The Taliban say they will respect everyone’s rights in line with Islamic law and Afghan customs and have changed since their 1996-2001 rule when they prevented women from leaving home without a male relative, and forced men to grow beards.

Wednesday’s about-face over girls’ schools prompted protests from the international community, including the United States, which pulled out of scheduled meetings with Taliban officials in Qatar to discuss key economic issues.

The Taliban need Western countries to lift the sanctions that are crippling the Afghan economy. Taliban ban government employees without beards from working


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