Afghan Taliban say they banned beauty salons because they offered forbidden services

Taliban orders closure of women’s beauty parlours in Afghanistan. Order forces closure of thousands of businesses run by women - often the only source of income for households - and outlaw one of the few remaining opportunities for them to socialise away from home. (Photo/AFP)

Women’s beauty salons were banned in Afghanistan because they offered services forbidden by Islam and caused economic hardships for grooms’ families during wedding festivities, the Taliban said Thursday.

The explanation came days after the group confirmed they were giving all salons in the country one month to wind down their businesses and close shop, drawing concern from international officials worried about the impact on female entrepreneurs.

The ruling is the latest curb on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls, following edicts barring them from education, public spaces and most forms of employment.

In a video clip released Thursday, Sadiq Akif Mahjer, the spokesman for the Taliban-run Virtue and Vice Ministry, listed a series of services salons offered that he said went against Islam. Those included eyebrow shaping, the use of other people’s hair to augment a woman’s natural hair and the application of makeup, which would interfere with the ablutions required before offering prayers, he said.

In addition, the salons cause economic stress on grooms’ families, who are required by custom to pay for the pre-wedding salon visit by the bride and her close female relatives, he said.


The ban comes days after the Taliban supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, claimed his government had taken steps for the betterment of women’s lives in Afghanistan.

Amena Sharifi, who owns a Kabul salon, said she was the only breadwinner in her family, since her husband, a former policeman, has been unemployed since the Taliban took power in August 2021.

“The beauty salon was our only income, and now I don’t know what to do? How we should pay for our expenses?” the mother of four said.

The families of three other women working for her will also lose their incomes, she said.