Kabul, Oct 26: The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan recently issued a fatwa, or Islamic decree, to ban hookahs, which had become a common sight in the war-ton country in recent years, the media reported.
The militant Islamist group considers hookahs, also known as shisha, as an intoxicant, which is banned under Islam, RFE/RL reported.
The ban on hookahs was announced in the western province of Herat earlier this month.
It is unclear if the fatwa extends to the entire country.
The move has had a severe impact on businesses in Herat, where scores of shisha cafes have been forced to close. Restaurants that offer shisha, meanwhile, have been forced to lay off staff as the number of customers fall.
The ban on hookahs is the latest attempt by the Taliban to impose its extremist interpretation of Islamic Sharia law in Afghanistan, where the militant group forcibly seized power in August 2021.
The Cafe Owners Association in Herat said that around 2,500 people had lost their jobs following the ban, aggravating an already dire economic situation for many residents, RFE/RL reported.
The Taliban takeover triggered an economic collapse and worsened a major humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, where hunger and poverty are widespread.
Azizul Rahman Mohajer, the provincial head of the Taliban’s feared Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said hookahs are “against Sharia”.
The Taliban, however, has not imposed any restrictions on naswar, a mild narcotic made from tobacco.
It is popular among Afghan men, particularly in rural areas, including among Taliban fighters, RFE/RL reported.
In April, the Taliban declared a blanket ban on illicit narcotics, although Afghan farmers say they continue to plant crops, including opium.–(IANS)