New York: The Taliban are banning women’s beauty salons in Afghanistan, a government spokesman said this week. It’s the latest curb on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls, following edicts barring them from education, public spaces and most forms of employment.
A spokesman for the Taliban-run Virtue and Vice Ministry, Mohammad Sidik Akif Mahajar, didn’t give details of the ban. He only confirmed the contents of a letter circulating on social media.
The ministry-issued letter, dated June 24, says it conveys a verbal order from the supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada. The ban targets the capital, Kabul, and all provinces, and gives salons throughout the country a month’s notice to wind down their businesses. After that period, they must close and submit a report about their closure. The letter doesn’t give reasons for the ban.
Its release comes days after Akhundzada claimed that his government has taken the necessary steps for the betterment of women’s lives in Afghanistan. One beauty salon owner said she was her family’s only breadwinner after her husband died in a 2017 car bombing.
She didn’t want to be named or mention her salon for fear of reprisals. Between eight to 12 women visit her Kabul salon every day, she said.
Despite initial promises of a more moderate rule than during their previous stint in power in the 1990s, the Taliban have imposed harsh measures, especially on women, since seizing Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO forces were pulling out.