Days after the Taliban captured a remote district in Afghanistan’s north, they issued their first orders in the form of a letter to the local imam, according to a report by noted news agency AFP.
“It said women can’t go to the bazaar without a male companion, and men should not shave their beards,” Sefatullah, a resident of Kalafgan district told AFP.The insurgents also banned smoking, he added, and warned that anybody violating the rules “will be seriously dealt with”.
In some areas, Taliban have allegedly introduced hardline interpretation of religious rule that earned them notoriety until being overthrown by the US-led invasion that followed the September 11 attacks.
Last month, they took Shir Khan Bandar, a northern customs post that connected the country to Tajikistan over a US-funded bridge that spanned the Panj river.
“After Shir Khan Bandar fell, the Taliban ordered women not to step out of their homes,” one Sajeda told AFP.
A statement purporting to come from the Taliban, circulated on social media this week, ordered villagers to marry off their daughters and widows to the movement’s foot soldiers, reported AFP.
“All imams and mullahs in captured areas should provide the Taliban with a list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 to be married to Taliban fighters,” said the letter, issued in the name of the Taliban’s cultural commission.
It brought back memories of the edicts issued by the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice during the Taliban’s rule between 1996-2001.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, described these claims as baseless. But people in areas recently taken overt by Taliban claim that there is truth to the social media buzz.
In Yawan district on the Tajikistan border, the Taliban gathered residents at a local mosque after taking over.
The Taliban claim that they will protect human rights — particularly those of women — but only according to what they call “Islamic values”.