In a distressing move, the Taliban has issued an order for hair and beauty salons across Afghanistan to close down, intensifying the already dwindling freedoms of women. The Vice and Virtue Ministry spokesperson informed the BBC that businesses have been given a month to comply, with the notice being delivered on July 2nd.
Since the Taliban’s seizure of power in 2021, women’s rights have steadily eroded. They have been prohibited from attending schools, utilizing gyms and parks, and more recently, banned from working for the United Nations. The extremist group has even imposed strict dress codes, allowing only the exposure of women’s eyes and demanding their accompaniment by a male relative if they travel beyond a 72km radius.
Despite widespread international condemnation and the brave protests of women and activists, these regressive restrictions persist. The closure of beauty salons is reminiscent of the wide-ranging measures imposed during the Taliban’s previous reign from 1996 to 2001, which were eventually overturned after the US-led invasion. However, the recent closure signifies a distressing regression.
Anonymous Afghan women expressed their anguish, stating that the Taliban’s actions strip Afghan women of their most fundamental human rights. By banning beauty salons, they are depriving women of the opportunity to serve one another. This decision reflects the Taliban’s focus on controlling women’s bodies, aiming to eradicate them from public life entirely.
Despite the reopening of beauty salons after the Taliban regained power two years ago, their windows remained concealed, and images of women were spray-painted to hide their faces. The reasons behind the ban and any alternatives available to women once the salons close remain undisclosed by the Taliban government.
The continued oppression of women in Afghanistan paints a bleak picture, with the Taliban disregarding human rights and persisting in their mission to suppress women at every level of society. The international community must unite to condemn these actions and stand in solidarity with the women of Afghanistan.