The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan has ordered male teachers and high-school students in Kandahar province to sign a written pledge that they will adhere to the militant group’s extremist interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.
That includes following the Taliban’s strict dress code for men, including growing a beard, wearing a turban or Islamic cap, and donning the “pirhan tumban”, the traditional baggy shirt and pants common in rural Afghanistan, RFE/RL reported.
Failure to sign or adhere to the pledge can lead to students being expelled from school or teachers losing their jobs, according to locals.
The order for male teachers and students in the ninth grade and above to sign the pledge has been widely criticized.
“This is an irrational step and must be strongly discouraged,” a high-school student in Kandahar, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution said.
“I want the Taliban to stop curbing our freedoms.”
“They should stop imposing such extremist ideas,” another high-school student in the province, who said he was forced to sign the pledge.
The pledge is the latest attempt by the Taliban to police the appearances of Afghan men and women in public, RFE/RL reported.
Since seizing power in August 2021, the Taliban has ordered male government employees to grow beards and wear traditional attire or risk being fired.
In some areas, men have been forced to attend prayers.
In some parts of Afghanistan, the Taliban has banned Western-style clothing and haircuts.
The militants have also imposed strict gender segregation in schools, universities, hospitals, government offices, and public transport.
Couples who eat out in restaurants are often questioned and harassed by the Taliban’s notorious morality police, RFE/RL reported.