Barbers are threatened in Pakistan, suspected Islamic radicals have issued a warning to barbers in a Pakistani border town not to shave off or cut their customers’ beards, saying it offends Islam.

The Pakistani newspaper, The Daily times has more on this issue.

Residents of Khar said that local barbers decided not to shave their customers following threats by militants that the practice was un-Islamic and violators would be punished.

Some 80 percent of customers visit barber shops to shave their beard and the militants’ threat will hurt the barbers economically.

The political administration has confirmed that the barbers were threatened, but it appears “helpless” in providing security to the barbers.

Security analysts, asking not to be named, said that militants would use Bajaur as a base to expand their “brand of Islam” to the northern districts of the NWFP after the southern districts “are increasingly influenced by the spread of Talibanisation”.

Meanwhile, the US keeps pressurizing Pakistan to curb down on Taliban hideouts in Pakistan. A senior US Army General Karl W. Eikenberry testified before the House Armed Services Committee:

Al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership presence inside of Pakistan remains a very significant problem, He told the Committee.

A steady, direct attack against the command and control in Pakistan in sanctuary areas is essential for us to achieve success,

The Taliban resurgence has been supported by a strengthened command-and-control structure that moved across the border into Pakistan after U.S. forces toppled the Taliban government in 2001. Today, Eikenberry said, senior Taliban leaders from the ousted regime are collaborating with al-Qaeda leaders, as well as with other groups led by the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Haqqani clan of an ethnically Pashtun tribe.

Tamashbeen is a freelance writer and blogs regularly at Tamasha.

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