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Taliban closure of magnificence salons removes final protected haven for Afghan girls | World Information

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As I stepped into my native magnificence salon right here in England to have my nails executed forward of my brother’s marriage ceremony, my cellphone pinged.

It was a catch-up message from a 23-year-old Afghan girl I’ve stayed in contact with since we met in Kabul final 12 months.

The irony of the timing of her message wasn’t misplaced on me.

I had been fascinated by her and the opposite younger girls from Afghanistan I’ve met in the previous couple of years, when the Taliban ordered all beauty salons in Afghanistan to be shut.

“Salons, gyms, universities, baths, it’s all simply an excuse,” she wrote, “they only wish to destroy us, both to be their slaves like their moms, or be killed.”

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Once we first met in August 2022, one 12 months after the Taliban’s takeover, she was already afraid of what would come. So afraid that she did not need her title or face revealed – not then and never now.

She and different girls we spoke to likened their lives to “being in jail” nearly day-after-day, being advised what to put on, what to say, and what to do by the Taliban’s ‘morality police’.

The one place, although, all of them knew they might catch a break was inside their magnificence salons.

They have been one other world altogether.

The salons allowed girls to solid off lots of the shackles of public life

Once I was working in Kabul final 12 months, I visited one in all these salons together with a feminine journalist good friend of mine. No males are allowed inside.

We needed to see whether or not the salons have been nonetheless working as typical, and we really simply needed to be in an area the place girls aren’t judged or vilified only for being a girl.

Largely darkish, thick, ‘inoffensive’ curtains separated the salons from the streets – although some went for bold-coloured curtains, and I appreciated that, it felt like a small act of riot.

Painted nails and thin denims

As soon as girls entered these curtains, for a second they have been free.

They have been free to take off their black abayas and niqabs and retailer them in a cabinet and as an alternative stroll round in skinny denims and a ‘good prime’.

They have been free to have their nails painted in vibrant yellows, oranges, and pinks on the toes they don’t seem to be supposed to point out.

The proprietor we spoke to (above) at all times feared the Taliban would power salons to shut

They usually have been free to say something they needed to say whereas they chatted away and exchanged information as their hair was being minimize, colored, and blow-dried.

One group of younger girls have been gathered in a nook of the two-storey salon preparing for a household marriage ceremony.

They have been carrying conventional, vibrant Kuchi clothes and ornate jewelry and headwear, with sparkly excessive heels.

They regarded beautiful, however they could not present their faces as a result of they did not wish to get in bother.

The salon’s proprietor, a feisty girl stuffed with confidence and Positive power, was pleased to speak as she managed her workers and dozens of purchasers.

She insisted she did not wish to cowl her face for the interview, she needed to talk overtly, although she did not need her or her salon’s title revealed – simply in case.

On the time, she talked in regards to the tense relationship between her salon and the morality police.

“The Taliban holds all the ability, they might shut my enterprise at any time,” she mentioned matter-of-factly. However she hoped it would not come to that.

Some salons had photos of girls defaced, others selected to take away them when the Taliban took over (beneath)

Pic: AP
Pic: AP

The salon proprietor is the primary breadwinner for her household and mentioned it did not make sense to close salons as a result of they function behind closed doorways and are a significant a part of the economic system.

She accurately identified that not permitting girls to complete their increased training, run companies, or progress in society would have a profound long-term impression on the economic system.

I’ve tried to get in contact together with her since this newest edict was revealed, however I’ve but to make contact.

For now, I can solely assume the salon we stepped into has now been shut down.

Each day since international troops left Afghanistan, life has grow to be worse and worse for girls and ladies.

The youthful technology, a lot of whom solely knew life below the 20-year NATO command, are a tech-savvy group who – in Kabul particularly – should not used to not having their freedoms.

‘I simply wish to dwell’

Final month, the United Nations revealed a report detailing simply how a lot these freedoms have been curbed.

“In Afghanistan right this moment, women and girls are denied training past main stage, banned from working exterior the house in most sectors, prohibited from accessing public baths, parks, and gymnasiums, and transferring freely across the nation,” the report said.

The Taliban have dramatically curtailed the rights of women and girls since they regained power. Pic: AP
The Taliban have massively rowed again on the liberty of girls and ladies. Pic: AP

It discovered that the Taliban has “severely restricted the rights of girls and ladies and suffocated each dimension of their lives”.

And that’s what number of girls really feel: suffocated and invisible.

I nonetheless usually obtain messages like “no person hears us”, “I must get out of this scary and harmful place,” and “I simply wish to dwell”.

There are clear divisions throughout the Taliban, we discovered that after we have been final in Afghanistan.

The youthful technology of management realise that in the event that they wish to be allowed again on the worldwide desk they should give girls and ladies their rights again.

However it will seem from the most recent order that the {old} guard are nonetheless holding sway.

It might look like frippery to mourn the lack of magnificence salons, however when each different proper and freedom has already been taken away, the lack of one in all your final remaining protected havens is one other large blow.

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