Afghan Taliban bans animal pictures
Reuters, June 14, 2001

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Afghanistan's radical Islamic Taliban rulers ordered a ban Wednesday on printing animal pictures or verses from the Koran on all products.

The Taliban movement's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, issued a decree asking all government departments, traders and private organizations to implement the ban, the Taliban's Voice of Shariat radio said.

The Taliban, which swept to power in the war-ravaged country in 1996 and controls about 95 percent of Afghanistan, has already banned photographs of people and animals.

It has also barred women from work, education and going outdoors without wearing a "burqa" veil covering them from head to toe.

Wednesday's radio broadcast, monitored in Islamabad, quoted the new decree as stating that the "printing and pasting" of animal pictures and Koranic verses on products was inadmissible under Islam.

It also said such images should not be used in any publicity and asked businessmen and private companies not to import or produce anything carrying them.

Tuesday, the Taliban radio announced a poster competition for its anti-drugs campaign, but said posters should not depict any human or animal.

The Taliban has provoked international protests this year by ordering the destruction of ancient Buddhist statues and asking its small non-Muslim community to wear distinguishing badges.

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