It 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. Mohadessa has kept her beauty salon open despite threats from Afghanistan's new rulers. 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's beauty salon has, for now, remained a place where women can relax among themselves outside the household and share their woes -- or forget them in favour of fun and fashion. The oasis of feminine industry provides income for the staff and moments of indulgence for the clients, but its days may be numbered. Customers are dropped off outside and whisked past posters advertising fashion and beauty brands that are now blotted out with white paint. They quickly disappear into the shop through a heavy curtain. Once inside, the women shed their headscarves and outer garments and their excited voices compete with the hum of hair-dryers as they choose their new looks.
Afghanistan: A beauty salon becomes a refuge for women in Kabul.
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