The Taliban have reportedly instructed mannequins in Afghan clothing stores to be beheaded, claiming the dolls violate Islamic rules.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Propagation and Virtue Prevention is said to have given the order in the western province of Herat.
Local businesses have been hit by the Taliban’s move to ban mannequins, according to The times.
Commentators noted that the new rules will lead to even more difficulties for companies, many of which are already struggling to stay afloat under the Taliban’s new regime.
Aziz Rahman, the head of the ministry’s local arm, referred to the mannequins as “statues” and accused people of worshiping them against Islamic law. Rahman said those who violated the sentence would be punished for severe punishments.
Marzia Babakarkhail, who used to work as a family law judge in Afghanistan but now lives in the UK, said The independent The Taliban’s order to remove the mannequin heads reveals “who they really are”.
Ms Babakarkhail, an advocate for the rights of Afghan women, added: “It is brutal. It is the kind of behavior in children. Not by a government leading a country. This shows the ugly face of the Taliban.
“If the Taliban can not accept a puppet, how can they then accept a woman with a voice to be in Afghanistan.
“When I read the news now, I’m scared. The Taliban pretend to change. They announced an amnesty and said they forgive all their opponents, but that’s a big lie. We should stand up to the Taliban. We must have our rights. “
She warned that the Taliban were trying to “scare” Afghan citizens in an attempt to force them indoors and remain “quiet”.
“The behavior of the Taliban shows their character,” Ms Babakarkhail added. “It shows their true face. But why the world is quiet is a big question in my mind.”
The 55-year-old, who is fighting for the female judges to be rescued from Afghanistan, has previously told The independent The Taliban tried to kill her in Afghanistan in 1997 and in Pakistan in 2007.
New rules unveiled by the Taliban’s Ministry of Virtue Promotion and Load Prevention in November blocked soap operas and dramas from including female actors in Afghanistan.
The rules have also banned all films believed to violate “Islamic or Afghan values”, as well as making the hijab – a headdress that some Muslims choose to wear – mandatory for all female journalists appearing on television.
The Taliban swept to power in mid-August as US and British forces withdrew – quickly declaring that Afghan women would be blocked from participating in any sport.
Last time the hardline Islamist group ruled the country, women were barred from working and leaving the house without a male relative, and girls were blocked from going to school.