The Taliban announced this week that it will imposes its extreme, fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law on foreigners in Afghanistan, even going so far as to require foreigners to sign an agreement to obey Islamic laws before entering the country. All persons in Afghanistan must not drink alcohol, eat pork, listen to loud music, or have “inappropriate contact” with members of the opposite sex. Women are prohibited from driving. Failure to comply will result in expulsion from Afghanistan or three days to one month of jail time. “Illegal sexual relations” will be punished according to Islamic law, which, under the Taliban, has included severe beatings and even death. Most Muslim nations, except Saudi Arabia and now Afghanistan, allow non-Muslims exemptions from compliance with Islamic law.
The Taliban’s new edicts come at a time of increasing tensions between the Taliban and the United Nations. According to a U.N. official, the Taliban is “narrowing humanitarian space,” restricting severely the U.N.’s ability to provide aid to the thousands of displaced persons within Afghanistan who are in need of food and shelter. According to the Afghanistan Support Group, the main organization that coordinates all of the Afghan aid, including aid distributed through U.N. channels, the Taliban is risking almost all of the aid to Afghanistan with its increasingly restrictive policies. The ASG warns that the situation is worsening daily.