The Taliban reportedly instructed mannequins in Afghan clothes shops to be beheaded, claiming the dolls infringe Islamic rules.
Afghanistan’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice is said to have made the order in the western province of Herat.
Local businesses have hit out at the Taliban’s move to ban mannequins, according to The Times.
Commentators noted the new rules will lead to yet more difficulties for firms, many of whom are already finding it hard to stay afloat under the Taliban’s new regime.
Aziz Rahman, the head of the ministry’s local arm, referred to the mannequins as “statues” and accused people of worshipping them against Islamic law. Mr Rahman stated those who infringed the ruling would face grave penalties.
Marzia Babakarkhail, who used to work as a family court judge in Afghanistan but now lives in the UK, told The Independent the Taliban’s order for the heads of mannequins to be removed reveals “who they really are”.
Ms Babakarkhail, a campaigner for Afghan women’s rights, added: “It is brutal. This is the kind of behaviour of children. Not of a government leading a country. This shows the nasty face of the Taliban.
“If the Taliban cannot accept a doll, how they can they accept a woman with a voice to be in Afghanistan.
“Now when I read the news, I am scared. The Taliban pretends to change. They announced an amnesty saying they forgive all of their opponents but this is a big lie. We should stand against the Taliban. We should have our rights.”
She warned the Taliban was trying to “scare” Afghan citizens in a bid to force them indoors and remain “silent”.
“The Taliban’s behaviour shows their character,” Ms Babakarkhail added. “It shows their real face. But why the world is silent is a big question in my mind.”
The the 55-year-old, who is campaigning for the female judges to be rescued from Afghanistan, has previously told The Independent the Taliban tried to kill her in Afghanistan in 1997 and in Pakistan in 2007.
New rules unveiled by the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in November blocked soap operas and dramas from including women actors in Afghanistan.
The regulations have also forbidden all films thought to infringe “Islamic or Afghan values,” as well as making the hijab – a head covering some Muslims choose to wear – compulsory for all female journalists who appear on TV.
The Taliban swept to power in mid-August as the US and British forces withdrew – quickly declaring Afghan women would be blocked from taking part in all sports.
The last time the hardline Islamist group ruled the country, women were barred from working and leaving the house without a male relative, and girls were blocked from going to school.