Three sources told Reuters that the Taliban has ordered all government officials to grow beards and follow a dress code or face being dismissed, the latest of several new restrictions imposed by the hardline Islamist rule.
According to the reports, representatives from the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice were patrolling government office doors on Monday to ensure that staff were following the new guidelines.
Employees were told not to shave their beards and to dress in traditional attire, which included a long, flowy top and trousers, as well as a hat or turban. Two of the sources said they were also told to make sure they prayed at the precise times.
According to the reports, employees were told that they would no longer be allowed to visit workplaces and would eventually be dismissed if they did not comply with the dress requirements.
A request for comment was not returned by a representative for the ministry of public morality.
Last week, the Taliban made it illegal for women to fly without a male chaperone and failed to open the promised girls’ schools.
It ordered parks to be divided by gender on Sunday, with women allowed to visit 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 claim to have reformed during their 1996-2001 rule, when they forbade women from leaving the house without a male relative and compelled men to grow beards.
The world community reacted angrily to the Taliban’s decision to close girls’ schools on Wednesday, including the United States, which canceled meetings with Taliban leaders in Qatar to discuss critical economic matters.
Western countries must lift sanctions that are harming the Afghan economy, according to the Taliban.