The Taliban in Afghanistaninfo-icon's Helmand province have forbidden hairdressers from shaving or trimming beards, claiming it violates their interpretation of Islamic law.

Taliban religious police said anyone who breaks the rule would be punished, reports the BBC.

Some barbers in the capital Kabul have said they also received similar orders.

Despite pledges of a more moderate government, the directives signal a return to the strict rulings of the group's past tenure in power.

The Taliban have carried out harsh punishments on opponents since taking control this month. Four purported kidnappers were shot dead by the group's fighters on Saturday, and their bodies were hung in the streets of Herat province.

Taliban officers warned hairdressers in southern Helmand province that they must obey Sharia law for haircuts and beards in a notice displayed at salons.

The notice read: "No one has a right to complain."

"The fighters keep coming and ordering usinfo-icon to stop trimming beards," one barber in Kabul said. "One of them told me they can send undercover inspectors to catch us."

Another hairdresser, who owns one of the city's largest salons, claimed he received a call from a government official. They told him not to shave or trim anyone's beard and to "stop following American styles."

Hardline Islamists outlawed showy haircuts and required males to grow beards during the Taliban's first term in office, which lasted from 1996 to 2001.

However, since then, clean-shaven looks have become fashionable, and many Afghan men have visited salons to get trendy haircuts.

The barbers, who asked not to be identified for their own safety, claim that the new laws are making it difficult for them to make a living.