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Taliban ban beauty salons for women in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD — ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban are banning beauty salons for women in Afghanistan, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

It is the latest restriction on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls, following decrees barring them from education, public spaces and most forms of employment.

A spokesman for the Taliban-run Ministry of Virtue and Vice, Mohammad Sidik Akif Mahajar, did not give details of the ban. He only confirmed the content of a letter circulating on social networks.

The letter issued by the ministry, dated June 24, says it is conveying a verbal order from Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada. The ban targets the capital, Kabul, and all provinces, and gives salons across the country a month’s notice to wind down their operations. After this period, they must close and submit a report on their closure. The letter does not give the reasons for the ban.

Her release comes days after Akhundzada said his government had taken the necessary steps to improve the lives of women in Afghanistan.

He drew criticism from human rights and women’s rights activists on social media.

The United Nations also said on Tuesday that it had engaged with Afghan authorities to lift the ban on beauty salons. The UN Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA, took to Twitter, urging the Taliban to end the edict.

“This new restriction of women’s rights will have a negative impact on the economy& contradicts stated support for female entrepreneurship,” he said.

Earlier, a beauty salon owner said she was the sole breadwinner of her family after her husband died in a car bombing in 2017. She did not want to be named or mention her salon by fear of reprisals.

Between eight and 12 women visit her Kabul salon each day, she said.

“Day after day they (the Taliban) put limits on women,” she told The Associated Press. “Why do they only target women? Aren’t we human? Don’t we have the right to work or to live?

Despite initial promises of a more moderate regime than during their previous tenure in power in the 1990s, the Taliban have imposed tough measures since seizing Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO forces were withdrawing.

They barred women from public spaces, such as parks and gymnasiums, and clamped down on media freedom. The measures sparked a fierce international outcry, deepening the country’s isolation at a time when its economy has collapsed and deepened a humanitarian crisis.

ABC News

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