Taliban give forcible haircut to youth, beat women
AFP, March 2, 1999

KABUL, March 2 (AFP) - Taliban soldiers here Tuesday forced some two dozen youths to get a haircut, while the religious police beat women for showing their ankles, witnesses said.

The soldiers herded 25 young men into a center near the Ministry of Justice where barbers went to work on their heads, they said.

"They took me inside and gave me a haircut without any explanation," Ahmad Jawid told AFP.

Rubbing his freshly mowed head, Jawid said each was made to pay 3,000 Afghanis (around eight cents) to barbers employed by the center.

Cobblers at a nearby pavement said the haircut operation had been going on for several days now and people avoided passing through the area.

A stick-wielding policeman was seen jumping off a van and lashing two passing women on their backs with a one-meter (yard) tree branch, while pointing toward their ankles.

The officer then entered garment shops and beat two other women in the same fashion before chasing them out of the market.

The women did not say a word as other shoppers and shopkeepers looked on.

The Islamic militia has banned western fashion and barred women from jobs and education, besides making it compulsory for them to cover themselves from head to toe outside the home.

The religious police of the Ministry for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice keeps a constant vigil to ensure compliance with the regulations by the citizens in Kabul, which was once a liberal city.

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