Officials at the Ministry of Culture and Information reacted against a recent statement that imposed limitations on shaving beards and women''s use of smartphones in some provinces, saying this is not the Taliban’s official position.
The reaction comes as a letter was reportedly distributed in Kapisa, Helmand and Takhar provinces where the shaving and trimming of beards and women's ownership of smartphones was prohibited.
Inaamullah Samangani, a member of the Cultural Commission in the Ministry of Culture and Information, called the statement invalid.
“The Ministry of Virtue and Vice officially announced that the statement has not been issued by the ministry; whatever is on social media is not from the ministry,” he said.
Residents of Kapisa province said the Taliban’s provincial department of virtue and vice ordered that the shaving or trimming of beards is prohibited, calling it great sin.
“They told us to not shave and not trim stylistically. Someone who violates this will face legal punishment," said Alem, a hairdresser.
Sadullah Salehi, a local reporter, said: “Residents welcomed some restrictions, like those on expenses of wedding ceremonies and firing in the air, which are included in the statement.”
The department of virtue and vice in Helmand province has also banned hairdressers in the province from shaving or trimming beards, saying anyone violating this order will be punished.
Municipal workers in Takhar province also received the same order.
Some leaders said imposing restrictions will not benefit the Taliban. “Such actions harm the Islamic emirate. This makes the world nervous and international recognition will remain impossible,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, the head of the National Solidarity Party of Afghanistan.
Previously some restrictions were imposed on women’s education and work, and the Taliban has not allowed Afghan girls to resume secondary school.