Afghan Taliban burn musical instruments: radio

AFP, May 12, 2001

KABUL, May 12 (AFP) - Religious squads of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia have burned musical instruments and punished more than 80 men who had trimmed their beards in violation of its Islamic code, state radio reported Saturday.

The musical insruments along with recently seized hashish were torched at a main intersection in Taloqan, the capital of northeastern Takhar province, the official Radio Shariat said,

Their owners were punished in order to teach a "lesson" to others, the radio said, without giving the exact date of the operations.

The Taliban religious police, officially known as personnel from the ministry for fostering virtue and suppressing vice, also punished 83 men in the northern province of Faryab who had trimmed their beards.

The broadcast did not elaborate on the penalties, but people involved in such "sins" are normally imprisoned for up to two weeks.

The radio said Taliban religious squads also detained 41 people for possessing music cassettes and another 21 for missing prayer meetings.

In other raids carried out in the Faryab's capital Maimana, the religious police arrested eight drug addicts and 10 gamblers, it said.

The squads also visited 86 mosques and gave lectures on Islamic virtues and explained the evil effects of drug-addiction, it added.

The Taliban, emerging fom the Koranic schools in 1994, have brought some 90 percent of the country under its control. It has enforced a strict interpretation of the Islamic Sharia law.

The ruling militia has outlawed music, flims, cinema, television and video besides forcing men to sport untrimmed beards and women to fully cover themselves from head to toe while in public.

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