Taliban to Lighten Up on Beards, Burqas - NBC4 Washington

Taliban to Lighten Up on Beards, Burqas

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    The Taliban said this week that it could allow women to take off their burqas in public and men to trim their beards as part of a negotiation process with Afghan and U.S. governments.

    The Taliban said this week that it is prepared to stop measuring men's beards and allow women to take off their burqas, or head coverings, in public as part of a trade-off in negotiations with the Afghan government.

    The new Taliban policies would make burqas recommended - but not compulsory - and would also give women the right to listen to all types of music and pursue an education, The Independent reported.

    Men could also trim their beards under the reformed Taliban law, which was previously prohibited under the regime.

    Talks between AfghanistanPresident Hamid Karzai and Taliban officials to discuss the negotiations are reportedly already under way, as Afghan citizens prepare for a U.S. offensive announced earlier this month by the Obama administration.

    Taliban officials are no longer insisting that they make up the government when Karzai's term ends on May 21, former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef confirmed to The Independent.

    Instead, the Taliban is issuing a series of demands - including the removal of all forces from Afghanistan in six months - that are likely to be rejected by Karzai and U.S. officials. The Taliban also want the nation to be ruled by a group of religious scholars unaffiliated with the Karzai administration.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the Hague conference that "moderate" Taliban who gave up "extremism" would be granted an "honorable form of reconciliation."

    A Taliban spokesman rejected Clinton's offer this week, calling it "a lunatic idea."