Taliban to ban women's beauty salons in Afghanistan

A woman walks past beauty salons with window decorations which have been defaced in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021.
A woman walks past beauty salons with window decorations which have been defaced in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. Copyright Bernat Armangue/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Since taking over in 2021, the group have already barred women from public spaces, education, and most forms of employment.


The Taliban is banning women's beauty salons in Afghanistan, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

It's the latest curb on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls, following orders 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, which notes a verbal order to initiate the restrictions from the supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada.

Felipe Dana/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.
An Afghan girl looks out from a beauty salon in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.Felipe Dana/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

All provinces are targeted by the ban, including the capital Kabul. 

It gives salons throughout the country a month's notice to wind down their businesses. After that period, they must close and submit a report.

The June 24 letter doesn't give reasons for the ban.

Taliban leaders have justified its mounting restrictions on women and girls as being in accordance with Islam, though there is considerable debate about to what extent this is true.

The vast majority of Muslim countries do not follow the same rules as the Taliban.

The letter's release comes days after Akhundzada claimed his government has taken the necessary steps for the betterment of women’s lives in Afghanistan.

"I ask you please do not do this, because we work here to earn some lawful money, the schools are banned for women, the beauty saloons are banned for women, doesn’t a woman have the right to live in society?" said one beauty salon owner living in Kabul.

Even before the latest decree, Euronews found evidence of businesses run by women struggling to trade.

We visited the Khadijah Al-Kubra market in Mazar-Sharif, where shopkeepers said there were no sales in the market at all due to Taliban rules, which forbid men from entering. 

Market manager Pashtneh Afghan said there were 360 shops and more than 1,000 women and girls working there.

He said the Taliban government had been asked to allow women to enter with their husbands, but they had not yet accepted the request.

"Our sales market is not as good and high as it should be, it’s less prosperous," said Diana, a shopkeeper. "Because people buy all the materials, they need from outside with the men of their family such as their fiancés, husbands, brothers, or fathers." 

Rahmat Gul/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.
Ms. Sadat works on a costumer's hair at her beauty salon in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 25, 2021.Rahmat Gul/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old shopkeeper who started trading after the Taliban closed schools for girls found another life route potentially closed off.

"After the Taliban closed the schools for girls, I wanted to find a hobby for myself to earn money and learn a business," said Beheshte. "My wish is that women come to this market and buy the things they need but they buy from men outside here."


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

They have barred women from public spaces, like parks and gyms, and cracked down on media freedoms.

The measures have triggered a fierce international uproar, increasing the country’s isolation at a time when its economy has collapsed — worsening an already worrying humanitarian crisis.

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