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Taliban directive not to show heads of female mannequins in shops

The Taliban have been creating an Islamic emirate (Photo: IANS)

An official in the Directorate of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in western Herat province in Afghanistan said that from now on, the heads of female mannequins shall not be shown in shops and will get cut off as their posing is against the Islamic Sharia law, Raha Press reported.

He said that looking at the face of such mannequins is against the Sharia law, the report said.

The instruction comes a day after the group in Kabul issued a guidance advising taxi drivers not to offer drive to unveiled women without close male relatives.

A number of shopkeepers in Herat raised concerns against such an instruction and said that Taliban are making life more difficult for them each passing day.

The shopkeepers said that they had bought each mannequin for $100-$200 and now they have to cut their heads off.

Ali Ahmad, one Herati shopkeeper, said, "Actually, these mannequins are my only belongings now, and now with this new order I have to cut their heads off. It is a great loss for me," as per the report.

In a further move restricting women's freedom in Afghanistan, the Taliban have said that women seeking to travel more than 72 km should not be offered transport unless they are accompanied by a close male relative, RFE/RL reported.

An advisory distributed by the Taliban's Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice also directed all vehicle drivers to refrain from playing music in their cars, and not to pick up female passengers who do not wear an Islamic hijab covering their hair.

Ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq Akif confirmed the authenticity of the advisory on December 26.

A taxi driver in Kabul, who did not want to be named, said that for some time now armed Taliban men have been urging taxi drivers not to play music in their cars or take women without a hijab.

Exiled Afghan legal expert Haroun Rahimi criticised the Taliban's directive, saying it means taxi drivers will effectively be in a position to "police Afghan women's bodies and mobility", the report said.