In a recent announcement, a prominent Afghan Taliban official has declared neckties to be representative of the Christian cross, calling for their removal from public realm.

Mohammad Hashim Shaheed Wror, the head of the Invitation and Guidance Directorate—an organization dedicated to directing individuals towards ‘proper’ Islamic paths—expressed his disapproval of Afghan Muslims, particularly professionals such as doctors and engineers, who wear neckties.

During his speech broadcasted by Tolo TV, Wror stated, “Sometimes, when I go to hospitals and other areas, an Afghan Muslim engineer or doctor wears a necktie.” He proceeded to emphasize the religious implications of the accessory, declaring, “What is a tie? It is the cross. It is ordered in Sharia that you should break it and eliminate it.”

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Neckties, a Christian symbol or merely official garb?

Neckties have a long and complex history, dating back to the 17th century. Originating from a piece of cloth worn around the necks of Croatian soldiers hired by King Louise XIII of France, neckties soon became a fashion staple at royal gatherings.

As the trend was adopted by the French elite, it quickly spread throughout Europe. Over the years, the design and style of ties have seen many transformations. Today, ties come in various fabrics, cuts, widths, and patterns, enabling wearers to express their personal style.

The typical attire for Taliban officials consists of shalwar kameez, a waistcoat, and a turban. While Western fashion has become increasingly rare following the Taliban’s ascension to power, neckties can still be spotted occasionally, especially among professionals.