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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Taliban orders Afghanistan beauty salons to close

Move is latest restriction on women’s access to public places

The Taliban administration in Afghanistan has ordered beauty salons to close within a month, the morality ministry said, in the latest shrinking of access to public places for Afghan women.

“The deadline for the closing of beauty parlours for women is one month,” Mohammad Sadiq Akif, a spokesperson for the ministry for the prevention of vice & propagation of virtue, said on Tuesday, referring to a ministry notice.

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Foreign governments and UN officials have condemned growing restrictions on women since the Taliban returned to power in 2021 after defeating a US-backed government as foreign forces withdrew.

Last year, authorities closed most girls’ high schools, barred women from university and stopped female Afghan aid staff from working. Many public places including bathhouses, gyms and parks have been closed to women.

Beauty salons sprang up in Kabul and other Afghan cities in the months after the Taliban were driven from power in late 2001, weeks after the September 11 attacks on the US. Many remained open after the Islamists returned to power two years ago but with their signs and windows covered up, providing some women with jobs and their customers with their services.

Western government and international organisations have signalled that restrictions on women are hampering any possible progress to international recognition for the Taliban administration.

The administration says it respects women’s rights in accordance with its interpretation of Islamic law and Afghan customs.

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