The Taliban has issued an order mandating the closure of all hair and beauty salons nationwide within a month, dealing another blow to women’s rights in Afghanistan.
The spokesperson for the Taliban’s Virtue and Vice Ministry, Mohammad Sidik Akif Mahajar, confirmed on Tuesday (July 4) that the order was conveyed verbally on June 24 and had the approval of Taliban Supreme Leader, Hibatullah Akhunzada.
This new ban applies to the capital city of Kabul and all provinces, leaving salon owners with a strict deadline to cease operations and report their compliance to the authorities. The government has not officially stated the reason behind the ban, but it is believed to be rooted in the Shariah Islamic law, which the Taliban is using to impose restrictions on women.
The ban has severe consequences for working women who rely on these salons as their primary source of income. Many women have expressed frustration and questioned why they are being singled out and denied the right to work and live freely. Associated Press quoted one woman criticising the Taliban’s order.
The United Nations (UN) has called for the reversal of the salon ban, as it poses a risk of leaving thousands of women unemployed. The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is actively engaged with Afghan authorities to address this issue.
Since the Taliban regained power in August 2021, women in Afghanistan have faced increasing restrictions on their rights. They are now prohibited from visiting parks, gyms, and travelling alone. Additionally, they are required to fully cover their bodies in public, and universities have been closed, depriving girls of higher education opportunities.
These measures have garnered international condemnation, but the Taliban has shown disregard for such criticism. The latest order to shut down salons is expected to have a significant impact on the livelihoods and quality of life for Afghan women.