The Afghan Taliban has ordered all government employees to wear beards and adhere to a dress code or risk being fired, three sources told Reuters, the latest of several new restrictions imposed by the hardline Islamist administration.
The sources said officials from the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice were patrolling the entrances to government offices on Monday to check that employees were following the new rules.
Employees had been instructed not to shave their beards and to wear local clothing consisting of a long, loose-fitting top and trousers, and a hat or turban. They were also told to make sure they prayed at the right time, two of the sources said.
Workers have been told they will no longer be able to enter offices and will potentially be fired if they fail to adhere to dress codes, the sources said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Public Morals did not respond to a request for comment.
Ranked parks separated by gender
Last week the Taliban banned women from flying without a male chaperone and did not open schools for girls as promised.
On Sunday, he ordered parks to be segregated by gender, with women allowed in three days a week and men the other four days, including weekends, meaning even married couples and families won’t can’t get together.
The Taliban administration has drawn criticism at home and from Western governments for imposing its hardline interpretation of Islamic law on all Afghans.
The Taliban say they will respect everyone’s rights in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan customs and have changed since their 1996-2001 rule, when they forbade women from leaving the house without a male relative and forced men to grow beards.
Wednesday’s U-turn on 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.