Taliban official claims neckties symbolize cross, calls for elimination

A senior Taliban official, Mohammad Hashim Shaheed Wror, asserted on Wednesday that neckties worn by men are a sign of the Christian cross and should be eliminated.

In a speech broadcast by TOLOnews, Wror, the Taliban’s head of the Invitation and Guidance Directorate, a department that seeks to guide people along proper Islamic lines, expressed his views on the symbolism of the tie in Islam.

“Sometimes when I go to hospitals and other areas, an Afghan Muslim engineer or doctor uses a necktie. What is a tie? It is the cross. It is ordered in Sharia that you should break it and eliminate it,” he said.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, they have not imposed specific dress rules on men, but women are required to cover up with a hijab in public.

While Taliban officials typically dress in shalwar kameez, a waistcoat, and a turban, some professionals and newsreaders on TV channels continue to wear collar and tie attire. The tie, believed to have originated in the 17th century and popularized by the French, has seen reduced usage in casual Western wear since the Taliban’s takeover.

In the past, previous administrations in Afghanistan have attempted to enforce dress regulations on the population, especially government officials. During the Soviet occupation in the 1970s, government workers were discouraged from wearing traditional attire and encouraged to wear suits. Former president Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country when the Taliban took over in 2021, preferred Western suits when abroad and traditional attire while at home.

Throughout their two-decade insurgency, the Taliban fighters wore shalwar kameez, but since gaining power, they have introduced modern military uniforms for the armed services.