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Taliban bans beauty salons in Afghanistan despite UN concern and rare public protest

FILE- Beauticians put makeup on customers at Ms. Sadat's Beauty Salon in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 25, 2021.

The Taliban announced Tuesday that all beauty salons in Afghanistan must now close as a one-month deadline ended, despite rare public opposition to the edict.

Sadiq Akif Mahjer, spokesman for the Taliban-run Virtue and Vice Ministry, did not say whether it would use force against salons that do not comply.

The ruling is 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.

The Taliban listed a series of services offered by beauty salons that it said violated Islam. They included eyebrow shaping, the use of other people’s hair to augment a woman’s natural hair and the application of makeup, which it said interferes with the ablutions required before offering prayers.

This is about women losing one of the only places they could go for community and support
Heather Barr Associate Women’s Rights Director, Human Rights Watch

The ban also drew concern from international groups worried about its impact on female entrepreneurs.

The United Nations said it was engaged with Afghanistan authorities to get the prohibition reversed.

“This isn’t about getting your hair and nails done. This is about 60,000 women losing their jobs," said Heather Barr, associate women’s rights director for the New York-based group Human Rights Watch. "This is about women losing one of the only places they could go for community and support, after the Taliban systematically destroyed the whole system put in place to respond to domestic violence.” 

Despite initial promises of a more moderate rule than during their previous time in power in the 1990s, the Taliban have imposed harsh measures since seizing control of Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO forces pulled out.

They have barred women from public spaces such as parks and gyms and cracked down on media freedoms. The measures have triggered fierce international criticism, increasing the country’s isolation at a time when its economy has collapsed, and worsening a humanitarian crisis.

Posted on 25 Jul 2023 19:44 link