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Taliban administration orders beauty salons in Afghanistan to close

KABUL — 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 and Propagation of Virtue, said on Tuesday, referring to a ministry notice.

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

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

Beauty salons sprung up in Kabul and other Afghan cities in the months after the Taliban were driven from power in late 2001, weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

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 organizations 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. — Reuters

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