‘Un-Islamic’ models beheaded by order of the Taliban in Herat, Afghanistan

New Delhi: The female models dotting shopping malls in Afghanistan’s cultural capital are “un-Islamic,” the ruling Taliban have reportedly declared and ordered their heads removed. In light of the order, a video of a store worker using a saw to behead multiple models went viral on Twitter.

Originally shared by author and Kabul-based activist Homeira Qaderi, the video was also posted by Persian BBC journalist Zia Shahreyar, who also put it in context.

40-second video comes four days after Afghan news network TOLOnews reported that the Taliban had ordered shopping malls in Herat to “remove the heads of the models.”

“These are the statues – they are defined in the (holy) books and should not be defined in Islam. These were revered. They (the traders) said they spread the clothes on them, ”the report said, citing the head of Herat’s“ vice and virtue department ”.

According to the report, the department “warned that traders would be punished if they broke the order.” He added that the order had come under criticism from clothing vendors and mall owners.

The video was all the rage on social media, with some users questioning Taliban regime priorities like Afghanistan faces a humanitarian crisis caused by a food shortage and a collapsing economy.

“It doesn’t make models less sexy or men less aroused. It just sends the message that a woman’s body is subject to the greatest graphic violence, ”noted one user.

Located in western Afghanistan, the oasis city of Herat is the third most populous city in the country and is considered the center of the cultural heritage and arts of Afghanistan, according to an article written by the historian CPW Gammell in Prospect Magazine.

The city’s predominantly Tajik and Hazara population, who speak mainly Dari, “fared badly” under the rule of the Pashtun Taliban in 1996-2001, Gammell added. After the August 2021 takeover, townspeople attempted to maintain “the ‘cultural spirit’ in defiance of the Taliban,” he said.

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

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