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Taliban threaten mutilation for Afghans who shave or listen to music

Sep. 14, 2003 • Tuesday September 16, 2003

KABUL (AFP) – Suspected Taliban have threatened to cut off the nose and ears of men who shave their beards or anyone caught listening to music in a district of southeast Afghanistan

“A group of Taliban have stopped vehicles on the highway to Khost and have warned passengers that if they shave their beards in the future or listen to music their ears and noses will be cut off,” Paktia provincial governor Asadaullah Wafa told AFP by satellite phone on Sunday.

Wafa said the group of a dozen suspected Taliban had been threatening people in Zadran district 140 kilometres (90 miles) south of Kabul on the highway linking Kabul to the southern province of Khost.

“It is the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies who bother people. They can do nothing because people hate them and they don’t have the power to fight in a front so they carry out guerrilla attacks on government posts and aid workers,” the governor said.

“We are chasing them and they will be finished soon.”

After the fall of the Taliban in late-2001, several men in eastern Nangarhar province had their ears and noses cut off by members of the toppled militia who accused them of shaving their beards, which were mandatory under the harsh Taliban regime.

Music and most other forms of entertainment were also banned by the Taliban.

Southeast Afghanistan has been hit by a recent wave of violence blamed on Taliban militants who have stepped up attacks on aid workers.

Four Afghan aid workers were tied up and shot dead by suspected Taliban in Ghazni province south of Kabul last week.

US and Afghan troops have killed around 124 militants during a major offensive launched in late August against suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda bases in southeast Zabul province.

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