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Ekeomah Atuonwu

All government employees in Afghanistan are required to wear a beard and follow a dress code or face being dismissed, the ruling Taliban have said.

This is the most recent in a series of new limitations imposed by the hard-line Islamist government.

Representatives from the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice were patrolling the doors of government offices on Monday, according to local media outlets, to ensure that employees were following the new guidelines.

Employees would be prohibited from shaving their beards or wearing local dress consisting of a long, loose shirt and trousers, as well as a hat or turban, under this new decree.

Workers were also instructed, according to the sources, to pray at the precise times and in strict accordance with the Islamic tenets.

Taliban bars government employees without beard from work /AFP/

The Taliban had previously prohibited women from flying without a male chaperone and failed to open girls’ schools as promised.

It ordered parks to be divided by sex on Sunday, with women allowed to access three days a week and males four days a week, including the weekend, implying that even married couples and families will be unable to visit together.

The Taliban leadership has faced domestic and international criticism for imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law on all Afghans.

The Taliban declared they would protect everyone’s rights in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture, and that they had reversed their policies from 1996 to 2001, when they prohibited women from leaving the house without a male relative and compelled men to grow beards.

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Ekeomah Atuonwu