Closure of beauty parlors creates new challenges for Afghan economy

By Ehsanullah

A burqa-clad woman walks past a beauty salon in Kabul's Shahr-e-Naw area on July 25. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

A burqa-clad woman walks past a beauty salon in Kabul's Shahr-e-Naw area on July 25. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

KABUL -- A recent ban on beauty parlors in Afghanistan has had negative economic consequences as female business owners are forced out of one of the few sources of income available to them.

The order, issued on July 4, shuttered thousands of businesses run by women -- which in most cases were the only source of income for households -- and outlawed one of the few remaining opportunities for them to socialize away from home.

Beauty parlors, which had mushroomed across Kabul and other cities in Afghanistan in the past 20 years, were seen as a safe place to gather and socialize away from men and provided vital business opportunities for women.

The mass closure is the latest blow to women's earning capabilities.

A Kabul store owner organizes cosmetics and beauty products on August 2. [Ehsanullah/Salaam Times]

A Kabul store owner organizes cosmetics and beauty products on August 2. [Ehsanullah/Salaam Times]

"My husband died of cancer three years ago. I was earning a living for myself and my three children thanks to my beauty parlor," said Khatera Yousufi, who owned a parlor in Kabul.

Yousufi, who is now unemployed, said three of her employees who were earning 4,000 AFN ($47) a month have also lost their jobs.

"Like me and my colleagues, hundreds of others have unfortunately lost their jobs."

"Now, I wonder how I should cover my expenses and those of my three kids," she told Salaam Times.

Mariam Amini, 20, began working at Yousufi's shop about a year ago. She was in the 12th grade in 2021 when girls were banned from attending secondary and high schools.

"When I was no longer able to go to school, I tried to do something so that I could work and earn an income for my family," Amini said.

"My father has a vegetable cart, but unfortunately, business has not been good over the past year. We were barely meeting ends with the salary I was receiving [from the beauty parlor]," she added.

Humaira Hamidi, another beautician in Kabul, spent 100,000 AFN ($1,176) on decorating her shop just three months ago.

"We were expecting that at the end of summer, when wedding season starts in Kabul, we would start making good money as we get more customers, but unfortunately, we have lost all hope after beauty parlors were shut down," Hamidi said.

"We do not agree with the closure of beauty parlors, because this was our profession and the source of halal income for our families," she said.

"I hope those who made the decision to close beauty parlors reconsider their decision and think about how we're supposed to feed our children," Ahmadi said.

Ban's effects on businesses

The nationwide shutdown has also worried shopkeepers and retailers of beauty products.

Mohammad Naser Raoufi, who owns a commercial building in the 3rd district of Kabul city, where he rents out spaces for shops, said two new empty spaces are now added to those that have been sitting empty for two years.

"I have lowered the rent, but no one wants to rent them," Raoufi said.

"Two of my rental spaces were occupied by beauty parlors, and they are empty now," he said.

Measures such as the elimination of beauty parlors will seriously affect the economy, said Raoufi.

Ehsanullah Ahmadzai, a cosmetics wholesaler in Kabul city's Mandawi market, noted the major drop in sales since the ban took effect.

"I could say our sales have dropped by 40% since beauty parlors were closed," Ahmadzai said.

"Most of our customers were beauticians based in Kabul and other major provinces such as Nangarhar, Kandahar and Balkh, and we have now lost these customers," he added.

Ahmad Faisal, another shopkeeper in Mandawi market who sells cosmetics and beauty products, agreed that business is slowing down.

Since two years ago, sales have dropped by as much as 93%, according to Faisal.

"Our customers in the past used to be young people with good taste who would buy expensive perfumes and shampoos, as well as owners of beauty parlors who bought cosmetics. But now, we see none of them," he said.

Recent decisions, such as the prohibition of the parlors, have irreparably damaged the economy, said a member of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The closure of 12,000 beauty parlors, which has cost 50,000 employees their jobs, compounds the nation's unemployment figures, the member told Salaam Times on condition of anonymity.

Before the closures, the average beauty parlor employee earned 5,000 AFN ($58) a month -- income that is now lost, the source added.

"The more cash people have, the more they will spend. The circulation of money improves the economy for everyone, but if restrictions are imposed every day as they are being imposed now, the country will come closer to poverty every day," said the member.

"Economic activities are connected to each other like the links in a chain. The ban on beauty parlors will affect not only the owners but also importers, salespeople and shopkeepers."

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The Washington Post informed in a report said that 118 girls were sold by their families in Shahrak-e-Sabz of Herat Province. Based on this report, these families have sold under age girls due to poverty and scarcity. While the people in Afghanistan are suffering from severe economic problems, the Taliban are busy with useless work and have no plan for Afghanistan's dire economy. Like the former MPs of the Republic, they are in their own way and they take bribes day after day. Instead of showing mercy to people, it has made them suffer a lot. A news from the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan that was published recently says that the Ministry of Education of the Taliban has been busy removing a number of books and the contents of some other books from the Afghan educational curriculum and it will continue. The spokesperson of this ministry says that a committee has been established by the Taliban leader Hebatullah Akhundzadeh and its task is to change the educational curriculum and remove books that are against Sharia and Afghan culture. When I was in school and I studied the same curriculum, there is nothing against Afghan culture and Sharia, but the Taliban have left important works, and have faced to doing these useless things, as a result of which people die from poverty or sell under age girls.


He added, "also we are ready to send our experts to Afghanistan to investigate the soil here and what crops grow best in it." Besides, we observed that the land has become salty on the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. We can cooperate with you in that sector as well and we hope that this cooperation will strengthen the relations between the two countries. In this meeting, the Minister of Agriculture of the interim government of Afghanistan asked the Uzbek delegation to help this country in the field of modified seeds and cereal seeds. "Asmatullah Ergashiv", the special representative of Uzbekistan, announcing his readiness to cooperate in this regard, said, "we are ready to cooperate with you in various agricultural sectors, especially in relation to improved wheat." In our country, we have different types of wheat that are compatible with the soil and water of your country, and if you want, we can send delegations to your country to discuss about modified seeds. 2/2


Announcement of Uzbekistan's readiness to cooperate in the construction of Afghanistan's "Qosh Tepa" canal The deputy of the Ministry of Irrigation of Uzbekistan, in a meeting with the officials of the interim ruling body of Afghanistan, offered to cooperate in the construction of the "Qosh Tepa" canal. According to the report, "Azim Jan Nazarof", the first deputy of the Ministry of Irrigation of Uzbekistan, who went to Kabul with the high-ranking delegation of this country, proposed to cooperate with Afghanistan in the construction of the "Qosh Tepa" canal. The Qosh Tepa channel is 108 meters wide and is supposed to be dug with a depth of 8.5 meters; Its starting point is Kaldar district of Balkh province, and after crossing a distance of 285 km, it reaches Andkhoi district in Faryab province after passing through the plains of Hairataran, Daulatabad and Aqcha. Previously, the Economist wrote in a report, if this project is completed, it could lead to an increment in regional conflicts, because this project will divert water from the Amu River near the border with Uzbekistan, which is used to irrigate cotton fields; the largest source of employment in that country, and it leads inside Afghanistan. However, in a meeting with Attaullah Omari, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock of the interim government of Afghanistan, Nazarof said. We have enough experience in the irrigation sector in our country, and if you allow us, we can cooperate with you in advancing the


The Taliban government's ban on beauty saloons clearly restricts women's work, which has more harm than good. These women, who earned a single halal sustenance for their families, were free from begging and bad luck, were not under any mental stress, and were resting peacefully and comfortably in their homeland while you took away their food. Several women will now be forced to do evil deeds, to beg and flee their homeland. Uncle Talib, now you may say whether you made a just decision or wanted to cool down your anger, hatred, and jealousy directly or indirectly. But you may hear that it will be difficult for you to answer this on the Day of Resurrection, that some women were earning a lawful livelihood for their families, and you stopped them from doing so! If this is the case with you, then believe that you will soon collapse, but the Pashtun people will pay the price of your unawareness and ignorance for a long time.