Taliban reportedly orders distraught shopkeepers to behead store mannequins

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Clothing store owners in Afghanistan’s third-largest city, Herat, have reportedly been ordered to behead their mannequins — yes, their mannequins — because said mannequins allegedly promote idolatry.

The order was issued by Sheikh Aziz-u-Rahman, the head of the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Herat, as reported Wednesday by the Italian news outlet la Repubblica.

Stunningly, Aziz-u-Rahman purported to issue the order for the benefit of the shopkeepers.

“Eliminating them [the mannequins] would cause shopkeepers to suffer extreme financial loss, so [he] ordered them [shopkeepers] to at least behead them. If mannequins don’t have a head they can’t be considered an idol, and the body is covered with clothes,” according to la Repubblica.

It’s a win-win for everybody, or so he appears to believe.

Shopkeepers disagree.

“The heads of the mannequins should be covered, not removed. Each mannequin costs $100, or $80 or $70, and beheading them will be a huge financial loss,” Abdul Wadood Faiz Zada, the head of trade association in Herat, reportedly said.

Clothing shop owner Mohammad Irshad concurred.

He “said he has over a hundred mannequins in his three shops” and that “[i]f he beheads all of them, nobody will buy clothes anymore,” according to la Repubblica.

“He added that at the moment he has stored them away, but cutting off their head would be terrible. Customers, women, men or children as they may be, would be affected and disappointed by mannequins without a head.”

Children would certainly be affected by seeing a headless mannequin …

Commenting on the Taliban’s latest insanity, one local citizen, Mohammad Yusuf, remarked that the group clearly “have not changed.”

He also warned that if they ever gain the “international recognition” that they desperately seek, they’d be emboldened to impose “even stricter limitations.”

Mohammad Moheq, an Islamic researcher and scholar, added in a statement to la Repubblica that the Taliban’s justification for the beheading rule doesn’t even make sense.

“He says the concept of idol is not what the Taliban think. He also explains that making dolls or other recreational tools is not the same as having an idol. According to Mr. Moheq an idol is something sacred, on which people are spiritually dependent, and towards which they behave with modesty,” according to the Italian outlet.

“An idol is something people obey without hesitation, it can also be a party or a group that is considered to be sacred,” Moheq reportedly said, adding that the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam seems patently ignorant.

This latest occurrence comes as President Joe Biden continues to face heat for his botched withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, as well as his refusal to offer support to the pro-democracy fighters who are standing up to the Taliban.

“Ali Nazary, head of foreign relations for the National Resistance Front (NRF), said the pro-democracy fighters in Afghanistan‘s fabled valley need foreign nations to back their efforts to turn back the Taliban and the flood of terrorist groups that he says have poured into the country,” The Washington Times reported Tuesday.

“Since the U.S. withdrawal in mid-August, the Biden administration has ignored the scores of fighters backed by ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups pouring into the country, he said. And the estimated 50,000 strong Taliban, which has a long history of partnering with terrorist organizations, has no hope of providing security and stability in a country on the cusp of an economic and humanitarian disaster.”

“These are facts that haven’t been accepted by the international community, especially the United States. The threat of international terrorism is growing every day that passes — and not only from ISIS but al Qaeda and the Taliban themselves,” Nazary told the Times.

In fairness to the president, the last time a president sought to intervene in foreign conflicts — specifically when former President Barack Obama intervened in the Syrian civil war by arming rebel fighters — it backfired bigly.

However, there are no similarly justified excuses for Biden’s botching of the Afghanistan withdrawal. Fox News notes that the blunder is one of several events that have “diminished U.S. standing in the world as China and Russia gather aggressive defenses not seen since World War II.”

It doesn’t help that, in addition to allowing the Taliban to re-commandeer the country and seize U.S. military equipment, the president reneged on his promise to leave no U.S. citizens trapped in the decrepit hellhole.

It also certainly doesn’t help that the president and his top officials “continue to suggest that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was relatively successful,” according to Fox News.

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Vivek Saxena

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