The Taliban has ordered its leaders to only take one wife because big weddings are too expensive and sparking resentment among fighters.
Afghan chief Haibatullah Akhundzada made the command after rumours spread along the front lines that the top brass were living lavishly and spending thousands on their new wives in Qatar and Pakistan.
‘We instruct officials of the Islamic Emirate, in accordance with Islamic Sharia, to avoid second, third, and fourth marriage if there is no need,’ the mullah decreed.
Afghan custom demands that weddings are extravagant and grooms will stump up ‘bride prices’ ranging from £20,000 to £70,000 to the wife’s family.
These wives are often housed separately meaning that the polygamy enjoyed by most of the Taliban’s commanding officers can become exorbitant very quickly.
The current chief has two wives, while the outfit’s representative in Doha, Abdul Ghani Baradar, has a harem of three.
Rumours that their superiors were leading the high life in Doha has fuelled resentment among fighters toughing it out on the battlefields and led to damaging rumours of corruption.
The bad press comes at a crucial juncture as Taliban officers in the Qatari city are attending peace talks with the Afghan government and intermediaries from the United States.
Many of the chiefs are now based in Doha having recently been sprung from Guantanamo Bay, in accordance with the peace negotiations.
Almost all of those men have now taken new wives, handing over wads of cash to their new in-laws.
When the BBC asked the Taliban which of their commanders had multiple wives, they replied bluntly: ‘Which one hasn’t?’
Their chief’s order said: ‘Families of several officials of the Islamic Emirate do not have a lot of money. Therefore, more marriages could affect their prestige, trustworthiness, and personality.’
Akhundzada warned his officers to ‘protect yourself against accusation and disgrace,’ adding that ‘transparency’ and ‘gaining trust’ were essential in the fight.
He said that by foregoing multiple marriages the organisation could avoid ‘accusations of bribery, misappropriation, or embezzlement.’
The decree does not prohibit people from having more than one wife, but it demands less profligate spending.
Indeed, the Taliban chief endorses taking another wife for men who do not have children, have no male heir, who are marrying a widow, or who have the family wealth to do so.