The Taliban has ordered beauty salons in Afghanistan to close, a government spokesperson has said.
On Tuesday, spokesperson for the Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and Propagation of Virtue, Mohammad Sadiq Akif, said that the deadline “for the closing of beauty parlours for women is one month.”
Mr Akif only confirmed the contents of a letter circulating on social media but did not issue any further details on the ban.
The letter, which is dated 24 June, says it conveys a verbal order from Hibatullah Akhundzada.
The ban is set in place for the capital city Kabul, as well as other provinces.
Salons throughout the country only have a month to wind down their businesses – after the deadline, owners must close their shop and report their closure.
The letter does not give a reason for the ban.
The latest ruling comes just days after Akhundzada claimed his government would take “necessary steps” for “the betterment of women as half of society in order to provide them with a comfortable and prosperous life according to the Islamic Shariah”.
The government’s ban and tight restrictions have come under fire from many people across the globe as well as women within the country.
‘Aren’t we human?’
Speaking to The Associated Press, one beauty salon owner said she is her family’s only breadwinner after her husband passed away in a car bombing attack in 2017 and fears the shutdown might impact her future prospects.
The owner, who chose to remain anonymous, said around eight to 12 women visit her salon in Kabul every day.
She added: “Day by day they [the Taliban] are imposing limitations on women.
“Why are they only targeting women? Aren’t we human? Don’t we have the right to work or live?”
Despite the Taliban’s initial promise of a more moderate rule than their previous rise to power in the 1990s, they continue to impose harsh measures since its takeover in August 2021.
Ever since the takeover, women have been banned from public spaces, amusement parks, public baths, gyms and sports clubs for four months.
Women have also been banned from working in NGO offices.
In March, United Nations experts said the situation of women and girls in the country has reverted to that of the pre-2002 era – which in turn erased the progress the country had made over the years.
It added: “In 2002, after years of being denied their rights under the previous Taliban regime, Afghan women celebrated International Women’s Day full of hope.
“The day was observed in Afghanistan and at UN Headquarters with the theme ‘Afghan women today: Realities and Opportunities’ and commitments were made to support our Afghan sisters rebuild their lives and be full partners in the post-conflict reconstruction of the country.
“On that day the international community said that the plight of Afghan women had been “an affront to all standards of dignity, equality and humanity.”