Dozens of Afghan women were hosed down and tased during a protest Wednesday over the Taliban's ban on beauty salons.
In a rare show of public opposition to the Taliban, dozens of salon owners and makeup artists gathered in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, to protest the ban. The Taliban responded by spraying the women with water and shooting their rifles into the air to disperse the crowds.
Under the Taliban, women have been barred from attending school past sixth-grade, can only be treated by women doctors, and cannot work for non-governmental organizations, including the U.N. Women are also segregated from men in all public spaces, and subject to detention for “moral crimes” under extreme “modesty rules.”
The ban on beauty salons, announced earlier this month, is just the latest in the Taliban's crackdown on women's rights within the country. The order came directly from supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, who said that salons provide services forbidden by Islam, and cause economic hardship for grooms’ families during weddings.
Salons in the country were given just one month's notice to shut down and submit closure reports. As women are only allowed to be serviced by other women, there will soon be no places within the country where women can receive cosmetic services. It will also shut down many of the few-remaining women-owned and operated businesses in Afghanistan.
One protester, who remained anonymous out of fear of retaliation, told The Associated Press that the protests spanned from the morning into the early afternoon. The Taliban used tasers and hoses on the crowd, as well as "put two or three of our friends in the car and took them."
“The purpose of our demonstration was that they should reconsider and reverse the decision to close beauty salons because this is about our lives,” she said. “All of us, 50 to 60 women, participated. Our slogan was work, bread, and freedom.”
Another protestor, who identified herself as Farzana, said: “We are here for justice. We want work, food and freedom.”