In Afghanistan, the Taliban ask Herat traders to behead models

Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, is on the brink of economic collapse. At the beginning of DecemberUnited Nations warned of risk of famine, estimating 23 of some 40 million Afghans at risk of food shortages “Acute” this winter. However, the new regime has other priorities, such as … cutting off the heads of female models after attacking beauty institutes when they took power on August 15.

The Afghan news channel Tolo News, revealed on December 30 that the city’s Taliban had ordered businesses in Herat to remove the heads of female mannequins, in accordance with their strict interpretation of Islamic law, which prohibits the depiction of human figures.

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Criticized decision

“We asked the traders to cut off the heads of the models, because it is against the law [islamique] of Sharia “, confirmed Wednesday, January 5 Aziz Rahman, head of the department for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice in Herat, the third largest city in this province in western Afghanistan, with about 600,000 inhabitants. “If they just cover the head, or hide the mannequin, the angel of Allah will not come into their store or their house to bless them”he continued, adding that the clothing vendors promised they would obey.

Herat clothing vendors criticized the move. One of them, Aziz Ahmad Haidar, told Tolo News that they are using “Mannequins to exhibit clothes”. Others, like Mehran Azizi, have pointed out that “Mannequins are used to display clothing in all countries, including Islamic countries”. But the Taliban have remained adamant. The Department for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice warned them that they would be punished if this injunction was violated.

The traders complied: A video posted on January 3 shows a store worker using a saw to behead a dozen female mannequins. Originally shared by Homeira Qaderi, an author living in Kabul, it has been viewed over 730,000 times and was reposted by the journalist from the BBC Zia Shahreyar.

Several Herat traders interviewed by Agence France-Presse said they were unhappy. “As you can see, we cut the heads of the mannequins in the store”, regrets Basheer Ahmed, complaining that each of his models cost him 5,000 afghanis (around 42 euros). “When there is no model, how do you hope to sell your products to consumers? “, he added.

In an article published on August 17 in Prospect Magazine, British historian Charlie Gammell, who published The Pearl of Khorasan : A History of Herat (“The pearl of Khorasan: a history of Herat” at Hurst & Co, in 2016, not translated), worried about the future of the city.

He recalled that it is considered the center of cultural heritage and the arts of Afghanistan, on par with Florence during the Renaissance. Its population, mainly Tajik and Hazara, speaks mainly Dari. She suffered under the Taliban between 1996 and 2001, but tried to maintain some semblance of cultural life, in the form of an underground reading circle for the Herat women and a cultural magazine.

Reduction of rights

Marzia Babakarkhail, former family court judge in Afghanistan and refugee in the United Kingdom, explained to the British daily The Independent that this decision of the Taliban reveals “Who they really are”. “We expected it, but I would have liked the employees of the [pour la promotion de la vertu et de la prévention du vice] focus on poverty reduction, aid delivery ”, tweeted Tuesday Farhadi, a former official of the previous Afghan regime.

While the Taliban have so far issued no national directives regarding mannequins, at the end of their first reign, in March 2001, they destroyed the two Bamiyan Buddha statues. Since their return to power, they have sought to be recognized by the international community and claim to be more moderate.

They have since imposed several restrictions, including on women and girls. They announced that women wishing to travel long distances should be accompanied by a male relative and called on taxi drivers to only accept women in their vehicles if they are carrying the ” Islamic veil “. The Taliban authorities have also increased searches for alcohol and banned music.

On Tuesday, around thirty women demonstrated in Kabul for their rights, but also to ask the Taliban to stop their “Criminal machine” and the assassinations of members of the old regime.

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The World with AFP

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In Afghanistan, the Taliban ask Herat traders to behead models

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