In pics | Beauty salon—a safe haven for women in Taliban's Kabul

 | Updated: Oct 20, 2021, 12:58 PM IST

Mohadessa's beauty salon is one of the last places in Kabul where women can meet outside their households, a bubble of freedom and even frivolity away from the gaze of men. The oasis of feminine industry provides income for the staff and moments of indulgence for the clients, but its days may be numbered

Beauty salon braving Taliban's threats

Since the Taliban seized Kabul in mid-August, many women have disappeared from public spaces, driven into private areas out of fear and sometimes very real threats, but Mohadessa has kept her beauty salon open despite threats from Afghanistan's new rulers.


An oasis of freedom

Many women have disappeared from public venues since the Taliban captured Kabul in mid-August. But, for the time being, Mohadessa’s beauty shop has remained a location where women can unwind outside of the home and discuss their concerns — or forget about them in favour of fun and fashion.


A woman's quest to work

"We don't want to give up and stop working. We love that we have a job, and it is necessary for women to work in Afghan society -– many of them are the breadwinners for their family," the 32-year-old entrepreneur said


A tale of two Afghanistans

The last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, between 1996 and the US-led intervention of 2001, women were obliged to wear the all-covering burqa. But since the Taliban returned to the capital and declared their Islamic Emirate, the movement has been at pains to present a more liberal face to the world.


No fear

That is not to say Mohadessa has not received threats. A Taliban mob has shouted abuse outside her shop, but she has made use of the legal limbo to continue. They open the salon every day, they come in, and they work despite their fear.


Message of 'resistance'

Around 30 women had braved the climate of fear to come to the shop and prepare for a wedding, where the sexes are traditionally segregated during celebrations.

The women were clearly enjoying the rare chance to dress up and pamper themselves, with elaborate hair and eyelash decorations complementing a colourful make-up palette.