The Taliban, a Sunni Salafist extremist Islamic group’s return to power in Afghanistan, has destroyed the little freedom women gained during the US’ almost 20-year venture in the country. Immediately after the US completed its chaotic withdrawal from the country amidst the Taliban onslaught, the group initiated an endless reversal of Women’s Rights.
A new decree banning women from owning or working at beauty salons has come into place. A spokesman for the Taliban-led vice ministry, Mohammad Sidik Akif Mahajar, confirmed the news. The ban revokes existing and future licences. Many women salon owners have expressed dissatisfaction, voicing concerns about how their livelihood hinges on the meagre earnings derived from these salons. A beauty salon owner, who chose to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisal, revealed that she became the sole provider for her family following her husband’s death in a car bombing incident in 2017. She withheld mentioning the name of her salon as well, for the same fear of reprisal. According to her, approximately eight to twelve women visit her salon in Kabul on a daily basis. She voiced her frustration with the Taliban’s increasing restrictions on women, questioning why women are specifically targeted and emphasising their fundamental rights to work and live as human beings.
Gender equality is almost nonexistent in Afghanistan, given its theocratic system of government. Women in Afghanistan are also banned from acquiring formal education as well as going to public areas such as parks and cinemas. Amnesty International and other Human Rights organisations have called for the Taliban to provide access for girls to earn an education as part of the basic necessity required by all humans to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Writers: – Chidinma Onwuokwu and Ikechukwu Orji –