In the latest action curbing freedom of women, Taliban has banned women's beauty salons in Afghanistan. Taliban has given the businesses a month's notice to wind up.
A spokesperson for the Taliban-run Virtue and Vice Ministry, Mohammad Sidik Akif Mahajar, confirmed the letter circulating on social media, however, did not provide further details on the move. It 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 letter, dated June 24 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. 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.
According to reports, shutting down beauty salons were part of the wide range of measures imposed by Taliban, when they were in power from 1996 to 2001. However, the salons were reopened after 2001, following US-led invasion of Afghanistan. An Afghan woman told BBC, “The Taliban are taking away the most basic human rights from Afghan women. They are violating women's rights. By this decision, they are now depriving women from serving another women. They are trying to eliminate women at every level of public life."
Despite initial promises of a more moderate rule than during their previous stint in power in the 1990s, the Taliban have imposed harsh measures since seizing Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO forces were pulling 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 and have worsened a humanitarian crisis.
(With PTI inputs.)