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Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 21:20 GMT 22:20 UK
Taleban outlaw lipstick and nail varnish
Afghan women wearing the veil with children
The UN says women have been reduced to pariah status
Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement in Kabul has banned the import of a whole variety of items which it says are un-Islamic, including nail varnish, lipstick and neckties.

A total of 30 objects are prohibited with immediate effect and will no longer be cleared through customs houses, according to the Taleban-backed Radio Voice of Shari'ah (Islamic law).

Screen grab from Afghan music website Radio Afghanistan
Afghan music website
Local stringed musical instruments like the Tanbur, Robab and Sarang have also been outlawed.

The unique character of Afghan music, flourishing elsewhere, will be increasingly difficult to hear in Afghanistan itself. The only music permitted is Taleban songs.

Visual ban

In line with the early Taleban clampdown on TV sets, the decree bans many everyday imports which have a visual element.

Cinematic projectors and films have been blocked.

Other banned items include:

  • written articles containing pictures of animals
  • greetings cards
  • Games: chess, playing cards and billiard tables

The Taleban, who came to power in Afghanistan in 1996, had already banned most photographs of people and animals.

Child's drawing of TV sets hung in a tree being shot
A child's drawing shows TVs being shot at
The Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar signed the official decree for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan's high body.

The law prevents the import of such items and allows the confiscation and disposal of offending objects.

Video recorders, TV aerials and playing cards were also seized during raids in Kabul last week. The offending items were burned and their owners were arrested.

Internet ban

A week ago Taleban officials tightened censorship in Afghanistan by seeking to control internet use - to stop access to what they called "obscene and immoral" content.

Web use in the country is minimal but is difficult to control because all telephone links are routed through neighbouring Pakistan.

See also:

13 Jul 01 | South Asia
Taleban 'outlaw internet'
13 Jun 01 | South Asia
Taleban defiant over UN aid
27 Jun 01 | South Asia
Inside Afghanistan: Behind the veil
23 Mar 01 | South Asia
Afghan feminists go online
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