UN urges Taliban to reverse ban on beauty salons

The United Nations office in Afghanistan, UNAMA, issued a tweet on Tuesday, calling on the Taliban de facto authorities to immediately revoke their edict to close beauty salons.

UNAMA expressed concern that this new restriction on women’s rights would have a negative impact on the economy and contradicted the Taliban’s stated support for women’s entrepreneurship.

UNAMA emphasized its ongoing engagement with stakeholders in seeking the reversal of these bans.

According to Reuters, the Taliban’s vice and virtue ministry has recently ordered the closure of beauty salons within a month, further limiting women’s access to public spaces.

Reuters reported that Mohammad Sadiq Akif, a Taliban spokesperson for the ministry for the prevention of vice and propagation of virtue, confirmed the one-month deadline for the closure of beauty parlors in reference to a ministry notice.

Although the Taliban has not officially commented on the matter, a letter outlining the closure deadline for beauty salons in the country has been widely shared on social media since the beginning of this week.

The increasing restrictions imposed on women since the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, following the withdrawal of foreign forces and the collapse of the previous government, have drawn condemnation from foreign governments and UN officials.

Under Taliban rule, girls’ secondary schools have been closed, women are banned from attending universities and working for NGOs, and their presence has been restricted in public places such as bathhouses, gyms, and parks.

Following the Taliban’s removal from power in late 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the United States, beauty salons emerged in Kabul and other cities across the country. Despite the Taliban’s return to power two years ago, many of these salons remained operational, albeit with covered signs and windows. This allowed women to find employment opportunities and customers to access their services.

The Taliban claims to uphold women’s rights in accordance with its interpretation of Islamic law and Afghan customs.