Fashion Forward? Not in Afghanistan

The latest rules say that beards should be no shorter than “one strand” and that men’s eyebrows should not be trimmed….reports Asian Lite News

Afghan men have limited options when visiting the barbershop if they do not want to be accused of walking away looking like a trendy Westerner or a North Korean dictator, media reports said.

No haircuts that make them look like an “infidel.” No trimmed eyebrows. And no shaved faces or beards shorter than the optimal length, the report said.

Any of those styles are considered a fashion sin, according to a new six-point list of rules for barbers issued by the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, RFE/RL reported.

The issuance of the directives, initially denied by the ministry, were confirmed by a regional ministry official in the western province of Herat this week.

Azizul Rahman Mohajer said on January 23 that certain haircuts were too similar to what the “infidels in the West or North Korea” have, RFE/RL reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, wearing a white marshal uniform, waves to soldiers during a photo session on April 27, 2022.(Yonhap_IANS)

The directives appeared to single out hairstyles that might resemble that of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — whose head is shaved on the sides and back, and topped with longer hair in a nod to the cut donned by his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the founder of communist North Korea, RFE/RL reported.

They were also reminiscent of orders issued under the previous Taliban government in power from 1996 to 2001, including “foreign haircuts” styled after the side-shaved, long-on-top hairdo popularized by American actor Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Titanic. Anything resembling the “Beatles cut,” the iconic mop top worn by John, Paul, George, and Ringo during the British band’s 1960s Beatlemania era, was also banned.

The latest rules say that beards should be no shorter than “one strand” and that men’s eyebrows should not be trimmed. Barbers were also told not to have music playing in their shops, or to have any images that might advertise undesirable styles on display, RFE/RL reported.

It was not clear if the new rules applied only in Herat or across the country.

Afghan barbers expressed incredulity at the latest rules, with some questioning how the styles coming under scrutiny could be in violation of Islamic law and saying the order would harm their business, RFE/RL reported.

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